Long-running suit over blocked Indiana strip club dismissed

A long-running federal lawsuit challenging a northeastern Indiana city's decision to stop a couple from opening a strip club has come to an end.

Attorneys for Showgirl owners Alva and Sandra Butler received a federal court's approval last week to dismiss their lawsuit against Angola, a city of roughly 9,000 people about 40 miles north of Fort Wayne. Mayor Dick Hickman announced Monday during an Angola Common Council meeting that the lawsuit had been withdrawn and cannot be refiled, The Herald-Republican reported.

"We are glad it's over with," Hickman said. "It was a long and difficult time."

The Butlers alleged in their 2012 lawsuit that city officials violated their company's First and 14th Amendment rights in a rezoning decision that prevented the club from opening. The couple already owns a location in Fort Wayne and wanted to open a similar club in Angola.

One of the couple's attorneys, Matthew Hoffer, said the Butlers' declining health was a factor in their decision.

"Plantiffs' health didn't allow them to continue in this," Hoffer said. "Everybody's got to make a decision that's best for them."

The couple's decision comes as recent documents filed in Indiana federal court show their attorneys recently received approval to move forward on a motion to rehear portions of the case that were previously decided in favor of the city.

Last December, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the city and courts were correct in blocking the Butlers' plans to open the strip club.

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