WALHONDING — A lawsuit filed by B&B Entertainment and Thomas George, owners of the adult cabaret business the Foxhole, was dismissed by U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus Jr. in a judgment filed earlier this month.
B&B Entertainment Inc. and George filed the lawsuit on Aug. 31, 2007, claiming New Beginnings Ministries “conspired with themselves and others to force their religion upon plaintiffs, their employees and their patrons to prohibit plaintiffs from the operation of their said lawful business, all with the purpose and intent to prohibit plaintiffs from the exercise of their Constitutional rights to freedom of speech, enterprise and religion.”
Pastor William R. Dunfee, Jeff Cline, Jackie L. Large, Jeremy M. Lyons, Jimmie Dale Couch, Jason D. Hurley, Bill Rah, Deputy (no first name listed) Simms, Sheriff Tim Rogers and Jane/John Doe (s) were named in the original lawsuit.
The suit alleges defendants trespassed; filmed patrons and employees entering and exiting the business; surrounded vehicles of employees and patrons and threatened “adverse consequences” when patrons insisted on entering the business; destroyed property and caused an explosion in the business’ Dumpster, among other allegations.
In regard to Sheriff Rogers and Deputy Simms, the lawsuit claimed the duo “failed and refused” to remove defendants and other protesters from private property, file charges as requested, and to protect the property and the business.
Over $150,000 in compensatory and punitive damages was requested, jointly and/or severally. An injunction ordering the protesters to cease further protests was also included in the suit.
A counterclaim filed by Dunfee, Cline, Large, Couch, Hurley and New Beginnings Ministries has yet to be decided.
The group, in the counterclaim, denies the vast majority of the allegations made in the 2007 lawsuit, including the suit’s claim the group is denying George his First Amendment rights claiming, that it does not involve “First Amendment rights of free speech through dance.”
The counterclaim states the group gathers outside of the Foxhole “to peacefully persuade prospective customers of the Foxhole not to patronize it.”
It claims conspiracy and civil assault and frivolous legal action against B&B Entertainment Inc. and George.
The defendants seek nominal damages; compensatory damages for actual injury suffered by defendants in an amount to be determined at trial; punitive damages to be determined at trial; reasonable attorney fees, and legal and equitable relief they may be entitled to.