Ernest C. Doyon Jr. has just upped the stakes in his legal battle to open an adult store in Waxahachie – he’s now seeking not only his permits, but is also seeking $300,000 in damages.
Doyon is also seeking a temporary restraining order and injunctions enjoining the city from denying him a certificate of occupancy for the store he built.
Waxahachie is a small town located 35-miles outside Dallas, with a population just over 20,000.
Doyon, who lives in Wichita, Kansas, has asked a U.S. district court judge for $150,000 in compensatory damages and $150,000 in punitive damages to make up for his loss of income caused by the city’s refusal to grant him a certificate of occupancy, the permit that is necessary for the building to receive utility services.
According to the Waxahachie Daily Light, the city’s attorneys are negotiating with Doyon’s attorneys over a possible pretrial settlement.
Stephen M. Joseph of Wichita, Kansas, and Steven H. Swander of Fort Worth, both lawyers representing Doyon, claim that the city has violated the Doyon’s First Amendment rights by enforcing an unconstitutional content-based zoning ordinance and enacting an unconstitutional prior restraint on protected speech.
Waxahachie officials tried to reclassify the land that Doyon built his store on when they learned it was to be an adult store in July. Then they passed a moratorium on sexually oriented businesses, and amended the ordinance to require such businesses to obtain a specific-use permit before they are allowed to operate.
Doyon’s legal team claims that the city’s sexually oriented business ordinance is overly broad because no definitions are provided.
“Since no sexual activities and no anatomical areas are specified in the zoning ordinance, it is impossible to know whether Mr. Doyon’s store, or any other store in the city, is an ‘adult bookstore or adult video store,’ ” a brief filed by Joseph and Swander reads.