- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A federal judge has ruled that a lawsuit by a man can proceed with his lawsuit against the city of Lincoln for denying him a liquor license so that he could open a nightclub.

Senior U.S. District Judge Lyle Strom ruled that a third amended complaint filed by Shane Harrington meets the legal criteria to move forward, The Lincoln Journal Star reported Saturday (https://bit.ly/1gXKTmS ).

Harrington alleges in the lawsuit that the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission wrongfully denied him a license that would have allowed him to open Club Smooth, a nightclub planned for downtown Lincoln. Harrington is seeking $12 million in damages. Besides the city of Lincoln, Public Safety Director Tom Casady, Police Chief Jim Peschong and a retired police investigator are named as defendants.

Much of the testimony during a 2011 commission hearing on Harrington’s application for a liquor license focused on Harrington’s ownership of pornographic websites. Lincoln city officials told commissioners that the sites depicted public nudity in Lincoln, and they expressed doubts that Harrington would follow state liquor laws.

Harrington says he was harassed by Lincoln officials and that his license application was unrelated to his websites.



“Since Hustler founder Larry Flynt was shot in Georgia in 1978, no American has been persecuted more for exercising his First Amendment rights than Shane Harrington of Lincoln, Nebraska,” said Harrington’s attorney, Evan Spencer.

Lincoln City Attorney Jeff Kirkpatrick said he remains confident that the city and its officials will prevail in the case.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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