Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Smoking Ban Trial Set For December

This holiday season, a Delaware County judge might bring local tavern owners a much-desired gift or a lump of coal.

Make the latter possibility a pack of Lucky Strikes.

Circuit Court 1 Judge Marianne Vorhees has set a Dec. 15 trial date for a lawsuit aimed at overturning the enhanced smoking cigarettes ordinance that was enacted by the Delaware County commissioners in August.

This year's ban, unlike one adopted in 2006, also prohibited smoking cigarettes in taverns and fraternal organizations.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed July 25, are the Delaware County Licensed Beverage Association, three local American Legion posts, an AmVets post and a cigarettes store shop.

The suit will be resolved through a bench trial, meaning Vorhees, not a jury, will decide on the lawsuit's merits.

The judge has scheduled two days of testimony, but in such trials, judges frequently take the cases under advisement and issue their decisions at a later date.

On Oct. 8, Vorhees denied a request for a temporary injunction against the enhanced ordinance, noting that such a ruling likely should have been made before the ordinance went into effect.

The judge also noted she could find no case law reflecting successful overturn of such a ban.

Vorhees did issue an injunction against a section of the ordinance that banned smoking cigarettes within 12 feet of a business, which she called "vague."

At an earlier hearing, local tavern owners -- including Lewis Coulter, president of the county Licensed Beverage Association and owner of two bars -- said both their profits and their number of customers had dipped significantly since the ban went into effect.

Attorneys in the case have suggested the county could be forced to buy failing taverns through a type of "reverse condemnation" proceeding.



Todays Notice: get the facts about Glamour.

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