Brewvies, the pub/movie theater in Utah has won a major battle against the state after a judge awarded them $478,000 in legal fees. Back in 2016, three undercover agents bought beer and watched a screening of Deadpool at Brewvies Cinema Pub. A Utah state law prohibits the display of sexual material in a facility that serves alcohol and the theater was threatened with a fine of $25,000 as well as a suspension of their liquor license for 10 days. Brewvies decided to fight back, and after two years, they've won in a major way.
In September of last year, a judge sided with Brewvies, making it legal for the theater to screen R-rated movies and serve alcohol. That ruling put the state on the hook for the massive legal fees from Brewvies' representation. A significant portion of the money awarded to the theater, attorney Rocky Anderson, and his staff will be given to the DKT Liberty Project in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit, which fights government overreach, who offered up a lot of help in the case. Judge David Nuffer had this to say.
"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. As long as the Legislature passes laws which the attorney general is obligated to defend, the financial risks to the State and taxpayers will continue. Legislative enactment of constitutional legislation - and abandonment or non-enforcement of unconstitutional legislation - is a better way to avoid this type of fee award."
Judge David Nuffer also threw out the state law that prohibited theaters from serving alcohol during screenings of movies that simulated sex in R-rated movies. Needless to say, Deadpool 2 was able to be screened without any problems this time around. Ryan Reynolds kicked down $5,000 to the Brewvies GoFundMe to raise legal funds to fight Utah over the First Amendment in 2016, and thankfully, they won. Reynolds has yet to make a statement at this time, but this is a huge win for businesses and the citizens of Utah.
Brewvies Cinema Pub had previously faced legal trouble for screening The Hangover Part II, Ted 2, and Magic Mike XXL. The law effected other local businesses as well, including The Eccles Theater in downtown Salt Lake City. The theater was not allowed to have patrons take beer into the theater during Book of Mormon performances because there were portions of the show that were deemed sexually inappropriate. Strip clubs in Utah face similar regulation, but they are sexually oriented businesses that have many of the same laws across the united states. Utah will continue to have strict liquor laws, but citizens can now have a beer while they watch R-rated movies thanks to Brewvies. The Salt Lake Tribune was the first to announce the Utah ruling.