ILNews

Appeals court upholds Indianapolis smoking ban

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday upheld the citywide smoking ban in most Indianapolis bars, denying the injunction request brought by several bar owners who claimed the 2012 ordinance would have a negative impact on their businesses.

The appellate judges noted the bar owners clearly established a negative economic impact as a result of the smoking ban, but a mere loss of future profits is not enough to base a takings claim.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard signed the ordinance in April 2012 that expanded citywide restrictions against indoor public smoking to include most bars. The ordinance exempts tobacco specialty bars like cigar and hookah bars, retail tobacco stores and private clubs that voted to permit smoking. The group of Indianapolis bar owners sought declaratory and injunctive relief from the ordinance, asserting due process, equal protection, takings and freedom of association claims under the federal and Indiana constitutions.

Chief Judge Richard Young in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana denied the owners’ request for relief.

Smoking is not a fundamental right, the 7th Circuit pointed out, so the ordinance will stand if it passes rational basis scrutiny.

“There are numerous reasons the City may have chosen to limit smoking in enclosed public spaces, and the bar owners have failed to disprove all of them. … [T]he City could have determined that they wanted to limit smoking in public places because it is annoying to nonsmokers, who are not used to inhaling smoke. It could also have reasoned that by banning smoking in public places, it would encourage more smokers to quit, improving health outcomes for more than just those exposed to secondhand smoke. Whatever the City’s reasoning, the bar owners have failed to demonstrate that there is no rational basis on which a law restricting smoking in public places could be based,” Judge Michael Kanne wrote.

The appeals court also rejected the bar owners’ claim that the ordinance denies them equal protection of laws because smoking remains legal in tobacco specialty bars.

“The City thus drew a line between traditional bars, for whom tobacco sales and usage are incidental to their primary business of alcohol and food sales, and tobacco specialty bars, whose business models depend on tobacco sales. The bar owners essentially argue that this line was drawn incorrectly because it does not include their businesses, which also depend significantly upon on-site tobacco usage. But legislation ‘does not violate the Equal Protection Clause merely because the classifications [it makes] are imperfect,’” Kanne wrote, citing Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471, 485 (1970).

The bar owners’ claims under the Indiana Constitution also failed.

The case is Wanda Goodpaster, et al v. City of Indianapolis, et al., 13-1629.

 
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend in December, but U.S. District Judge Robert Miller later reduced that to about $540,000 to put the damages for suffering under the statutory cap of $300,000.

  2. I was trying to remember, how did marriage get gay in Kentucky, did the people vote for it? Ah no, of course not. It was imposed by judicial fiat. The voted-for official actually represents the will of the majority in the face of an unelected federal judiciary. But democracy only is just a slogan for the powerful, they trot it out when they want and call it bigotry etc when they don't.

  3. Ah yes... Echoes of 1963 as a ghostly George Wallace makes his stand at the Schoolhouse door. We now know about the stand of personal belief over service to all constituents at the Carter County Clerk door. The results are the same, bigotry unable to follow the directions of the courts and the courts win. Interesting to watch the personal belief take a back seat rather than resign from a perception of local power to make the statement.

  4. An oath of office, does it override the conscience? That is the defense of overall soldier who violates higher laws, isnt it? "I was just following orders" and "I swore an oath of loyalty to der Fuhrer" etc. So this is an interesting case of swearing a false oath and then knowing that it was wrong and doing the right thing. Maybe they should chop her head off too like the "king's good servant-- but God's first" like St Thomas More. ...... We wont hold our breath waiting for the aclu or other "civil liberterians" to come to her defense since they are all arrayed on the gay side, to a man or should I say to a man and womyn?

  5. Perhaps we should also convene a panel of independent anthropological experts to study the issues surrounding this little-known branch of human sacrifice?

ADVERTISEMENT