The legal battle over porn performers wearing condoms in adult films is over after more than three years in federal court.
The fiercely contested litigation over the condom law referred to as “Measure B,” which was approved by Los Angeles voters in November 2012, was officially settled Thursday after the parties filed paperwork agreeing to a détente based on an earlier court ruling.
U.S. District Court Judge Dean Pregerson ruled in August 2013 that the law presented no First Amendment violations. However, the court nixed the law’s enforcement mechanism because, “Measure B would seem to authorize a health officer to enter and search any part of a private home in the middle of the night, because he suspects violations are occurring.”
An appellate court ruling upheld the lower court.
The lawsuit, filed by Universal City’s Vivid Entertainment in January 2013, claimed the measure infringed on performers’ freedom of speech and sought to enjoin the county from implementing permitting and enforcement programs.
Samantha Azulay, an attorney for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in West Hollywood, said the settlement represented a win for the organization, which was the primary sponsor of Measure B.
“As part of the settlement all parties have agreed that Measure B is the law,” she said. “We believe that by admitting that, the plaintiffs have abandoned their First Amendment freedom of speech claims.”
Vivid founder and co-chairman Steven Hirsch countered that the judge’s ruling gutted the law.
“Pregerson stripped the county of the ability to enforce Measure B, which the county didn’t want any part of to begin with,” he said. “They took no position during the litigation.”
In a statement, the L.A. Department of Public Health acknowledged enforcement efforts would be hampered by the court’s ruling.
“The Department of Public Health has and will continue to accept permit applications,” the statement reads. “The Department will need to determine an appropriate regulatory approach in light of the District Court's ruling that much of the Department's independent enforcement authority over these permits was unconstitutional.”
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