• November 27, 2012

Why is there an “adult bookstore” (a misnomer if ever there was one) in Brainerd, Minnesota?  Are computer access, internet access, or internet speeds in Northern Minnesota so bad that the pornographically inclined population cannot go on-line to meet its voyeuristic needs?  Maybe it is like movie theaters and there a the social aspect that keeps these institutions going (eww)?

Times have to be changing.  A pornographic bookstore has got to be a very risky business model these days.  So, it should be no surprise that Ronald Beattie, Jr., owner of the appropriately named Risky Business in Brainerd has wisely expanded in recent years into other products….but synthetic marijuana???

Ooops.  In terms of risk mitigation, probably not a good move.  (And, if you are going to push the envelope of legal pleasure products, by the way, you probably want to make sure you’re paying your taxes.)

But what brings Risky Business to the pages of Minnesota Litigator these days is the First Amendment battle that it launched this week against Crow Wing County.  The case has been assigned to U.S. District Court Judge John R. Tunheim (D. Minn.).

There is something ironic about the suit.  Apparently, Risky Business has been no favorite of the City of Brainerd for a while and Mr. Beattie’s Risky Business (WHO COULD RESIST? YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS STUFF UP) negotiated an arrangement with the city’s blessing for a little “adult zone” in the store.  The point of this arrangement was to avoid being classified and regulated as an “adult bookstore” and, naturally, this was premised on not allowing children into the adult zone.

Then, according to Risky Business’ complaint, the City of Brainerd redefined “adult bookstore” to mean a book store that excludes minors to any part of the store by reason of age (!?).

So Risky Business is apparently subject to increased (and, from its perspective onerous) regulation under the amended statute precisely due to the negotiated condition that it agreed to in order to avoid the regulation.

Not if Risky Business’ lawyer, Randall D.B. Tigue, one of Minnesota’s most prominent First Amendment plaintiff’s lawyers, has anything to say about it.  He’s not only filed a complaint but also a motion for a preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order this week.

Seth Leventhal is a Twin Cities business litigator with a more conservative business model: prompt, ethical, responsive, and experienced legal help for business disputes with colleagues, customers, providers, competitors, vendors, lenders, or regulators.  For most legal disputes, you need one good lawyer and you should get the best you can find.



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