Appellate Clinic Victory in Crazy Ely v. City of Las Vegas

In Crazy Ely Western Village, LLC v. City of Las Vegas, the Appellate and Supreme Court Clinic represented a trio of small, family-owned, Las Vegas souvenir shops. There, in violation of the shops’ First Amendment speech rights, the City of Las Vegas enacted onerous advertising ordinances, requiring the stores to limit their alcohol advertising to only ten percent of their store windows and prohibiting them from posting alcohol price advertisements visible to individuals standing outside the establishment.

logoThe shops sought to enjoin the speech restrictions in federal district court, but their motion for an injunction was denied. Crazy Ely, with the assistance of the Clinic, appealed this denial to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

On May 11, 2015, Aaron Gold, with support from Colleen Smith, argued before the Ninth Circuit on behalf of the shops.  The argument may be viewed here. On July 22, the Ninth Circuit issued a memorandum opinion affirming in part and reversing in part the district court’s denial of the preliminary injunction. The court remanded the matter to district court for further findings on whether the advertising restrictions directly and materially advanced the city’s interests and whether less-restrictive alternatives to the advertising restrictions were available.  It only affirmed the denial of the injunction as to a requirement that the stores post a sign alerting customers to a law against consumption.

On remand, the district court scheduled a hearing for November 19, 2015, but ultimately, the hearing was not needed.  On October 7, the Las Vegas City Council adopted Ordinance No. 6468, which repealed the speech restrictions challenged in the Clinic’s appeal.