Adult Retailer Gets $220,000 Settlement in Zoning Case

By: Eddie Adams
Posted: 8:30 am PDT 5-2-2007

SIOUX CITY, Ia. - The city has settled a long-running lawsuit with a lingerie boutique over a zoning ordinance that was declared unconstitutional. Owner John Halton received a $220,000 settlement in the case, a figure approved by the Sioux City Council by a 3-1 vote.

Haltom filed suit against the city in 2003, arguing that the city's ordinances addressing adult entertainment violated his First Amendment rights. Additionally, Haltom claimed the city specifically targeted his business by amending an existing ordinance to keep him from opening his store. He was granted an injunction allowing the store to remain open while the case was pending.

U.S. District Judge Mark W. Bennett declared one Sioux City adult ordinance unconstitutional, and upheld another. Under the terms of the settlement the city has agreed to allow Dr. John's to operate with a 25% inventory of adult material. Halton, who originally sought $500,000 in his suit, agreed not to take further legal action against the city in the future.

"There's still one thing I haven't got," Haltom told the Sioux City Journal. "I wanted them to give me an apology, but they refused. They wouldn't say, 'I'm sorry.'"

Councilman Dave Ferris told the Associated Press that it was in the best interest of city taxpayers to settle the case, which he says could have dragged on for years.

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