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Tuesday, 14 December 2010 09:16
Judge Dismisses 1st Fat City Jefferson Parish Bar Lawsuit
Written by  Walt Bennetti, Publisher of ClickJefferson.com

The first legal salvo in the war over the controversial rezoning of Fat City has been decided after U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman dismissed City Bar’s lawsuit against Jefferson Parish. The owner of City Bar, Anthony Marullo, is expected to appeal the judge’s decision.

In the lawsuit, City Bar claimed that the regulations in the rezoning ordinance, including reducing the hours that alcohol could be sold in Fat City would cause the bar to shut its doors and result in the government effectively “taking” the property. The ordinance calls for all businesses serving alcohol to close at Midnight Sunday – Thursday and 1am on Friday and Saturday nights while the rest of the Parish can serve alcohol 24 hours a day.

Judge Feldman disagreed.

"It does not identify a protected property interest," wrote Feldman. "It does not state how the government's action resulted in a deprivation of that interest; nor does it show it was deprived of a right arising under the Constitution or federal law."

According to Judge Feldman, since City Bar can remain open, albeit under drastically reduced hours, the government is essentially not “taking” their property.

In addition to City Bar's lawsuit, additional lawsuits have been filed by Fat City Business and Land Owners against the Parish seeking to overturn the rezoning ordinance. Due to the ordinance, several Fat City businesses have closed or are contemplating closing before the ordinance is enacted on March 31st.

City Bar will also appeal the enforcement of a suspension of their alcohol permit. At last week’s Jefferson Parish Council Meeting, Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng, who has spearheaded the assault on Fat City businesses with the blessing of Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, voted against suspending the enforcement of a two-week suspension of City Bar’s alcohol permit and pushed for the bar to be punished. After Marullo began his outspoken criticism of the Fat City Rezoning Ordinance, City Bar was the target of a sting two weeks before the Council vote. During the sting, an underage female was served alcohol. It was City Bar’s first offense.

The Parish’s alcohol review board had recommended the punishment be suspended since City Bar has changed its admission policy.

By Walt Bennetti, Publisher of ClickJefferson.com.
 

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