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Utah Ordered to Pay $475K in Deadpool Case

State wanted to punish cinema for serving booze during racy superhero movie
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 2, 2018 2:40 AM CDT

(Newser) – 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. US District Judge David Nuffer handed down a strongly worded decision denying state arguments that the price was too high, the AP reports. "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 state had backed a law that's largely aimed at strip clubs, but also prohibited serving booze during films with simulated sex or full-frontal nudity.

The Brewvies movie theater in Salt Lake City sued in 2016 after regulators threatened to fine it up to $25,000. The state defended the measure in court, calling liquor and sex an "explosive combination." Nuffer struck down the law last year as a violation of First Amendment rights, ruling the theater is not an adult-oriented establishment and Deadpool is a mainstream movie. The theater's attorney argued that the law was so vague it would apply to Michelangelo's "David." His office was awarded about $475,000 in attorneys' fees and an additional $3,800 in other legal costs. Nuffer deducted $22,000 in proceeds from an online fundraiser that attracted a donation from Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds.

(Read more Utah stories.)

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