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Richland Bookmart, Inc. v. Knox County

May 2, 2007

RICHLAND BOOKMART, INC., D/B/A TOWN AND COUNTRY BOOKSTORE; KNOXVILLE ADULT VIDEO SUPERSTORE, INC.; AND GREG TURNER, D/B/A RAYMOND'S PLACE, PLAINTIFFS
v.
KNOX COUNTY, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James H. Jarvis United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The Town and Country Bookstore on Clinton Highway has been operating and selling adult books and videos for more than 20 years. The Knoxville Adult Video Superstore on Lovell Road more recently opened, and plaintiffs contend that its opening induced Knox County Commission to attempt to "strengthen" its adult business regulations. Both of these businesses are "take home" adult video stores that do not permit viewing of the videos on the premises.

Greg Turner operates Raymond's Place on Clinton Highway which is an adult cabaret where female dancers perform in pasties and g-strings. The original complaint in this case was brought only on behalf of the two book and video stores. Raymond's Place was allowed to intervene as a plaintiff.

Currently pending is the defendant Knox County's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' complaint on the basis of lack of subject matter jurisdiction, Rule 12(b)(1), and failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, Rule 12(b)(6) [Court File #7]. The subject matter jurisdiction arguments under 12(b)(1) deal with issues related to plaintiffs' standing. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

I. Factual Background

The following factual background is considered in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs contend that in early 2005, the Knox County Commission became concerned with the opening of a new adult video store on Lovell Road (Knoxville Adult Video Superstore, Inc.) and hired an attorney named Scott Bergthold who is connected with the National Family Legal Foundation (NFLF) to help fight "sexual-oriented business". Bergthold, according to the plaintiffs, is a crusader and attorney who was asked by Knox County to review and strengthen any adult business regulations in Knox County. The County had previously adopted a licensing regulation in both the City and County, which Judge Jordan found unconstitutional in 1990 in Brothers III v. Knox County, Civil Action No. 3:89-cv-35. Bergthold drafted this regulation which covers 21 pages and requires the licensing and regulation of the following classifications of "sexually-oriented businesses":

(1) Adult book stores or adult video stores;

(2) Adult cabarets;

(3) Adult motels;

(4) Adult motion picture theaters;

(5) Semi-nude model studios;

(6) Sexual device shops; and

(7) Sexual encounter ...


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