A judge has ordered the state of Utah to pay more than $475,000 in legal fees after it lost a court fight over a law that banned serving alcohol during the racy, foul-mouthed superhero film Deadpool.
U.S. District Judge David Nuffer handed down a strongly worded decision Wednesday denying state arguments that the price was too high.
“The political judgment of the state that it will enact a statute contrary to existing law and risk payment of legal fees is a legitimate choice, but it has consequences,” he wrote.
Lawmakers and the governor in the conservative, predominantly Mormon state had backed a law that is largely aimed at strip clubs but also prohibited serving booze during films with simulated sex or full-frontal nudity. A movie theater sued in 2016 after Utah regulators threatened to fine it up to $25,000.
The state defended the measure in court, calling liquor and sex an “explosive combination,” even after Idaho lawmakers repealed a similar law.
The Utah attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nuffer struck down the law last year as a violation of First Amendment rights, ruling the theater Brewvies is not an adult-oriented establishment and Deadpool is a mainstream, R-rated movie.
Successful plaintiffs are often granted attorneys’ fees, and the state has conceded Brewvies was entitled to some money to cover its legal bills.
– Excerpt from an article written by the Associated Press for The Hollywood Reporter. Find the full article here.