DABC won’t enforce law against Brewvies over ‘Deadpool’

Posted at 12:49 PM, May 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-03 20:54:59-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A movie theater facing revocation of its liquor license for showing the movie "Deadpool" got a reprieve from the state of Utah.

At a hearing in federal court on Tuesday, Utah's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agreed not to take any action against Brewvies while its lawsuit goes forward.

"They can continue to operate as they have," said Parker Douglas, the Utah Attorney General's Federal Solicitor told reporters outside of court.

Brewvies owner Randy Miller declined to comment to FOX 13 outside of court. Nina McDermott, the DABC's director of compliance, also declined to comment.

Brewvies wanted a restraining order against the DABC, fearing further action by the liquor control authority as it plans to show more R-rated movies that could run afoul of a Utah law that prohibits liquor licensees from showing films with full nudity and depicting sex acts. A pair of undercover agents busted Brewvies for showing "Deadpool" back in February.

Brewvies is suing the state, challenging the constitutionality of the law. U.S. District Court Judge David Nuffer had planned to rule on a restraining order filed against the DABC, when the Utah Attorney General's Office said it would agree to take no enforcement action during the litigation.

"It doesn't cure the constitutional issue," Judge Nuffer said of the lawsuit.

But the agreement between Brewvies and the DABC means both sides can skip injunction hearings and go straight for summary judgment -- where the judge will decide if the law is constitutional or not.

"This antiquated statute is unconstitutional," Brewvies lawyer Rocky Anderson said outside of court.

Anderson said he would like to see the obscenity statute repealed (like Idaho did when faced with a challenge over a theater showing "50 Shades of Grey"). But a court may be Brewvies' only option, if the Utah State Legislature does not repeal it.

"I think it will be decided on motions for summary judgment," Anderson told FOX 13, adding that if Brewvies lost he would appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.

Brewvies plans a repeat showing of "Deadpool" on Friday at midnight, using it as a fundraiser for its lawsuit against the state.