Utah must pay $475,000 in legal fees in ‘Deadpool’ case

This April 18, 2016, file photo, shows the Brewvies Cinema Pub, in Salt Lake City. A judge ordered the state of Utah to pay $475,000 in legal fees after it lost a court fight over a law that banned serving alcohol during the superhero film "Deadpool." | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A judge has ordered the state of Utah to pay more than $475,000 in legal fees after it lost a court fight over a law that banned serving alcohol during the racy, foul-mouthed superhero film “Deadpool.”

U.S. District Judge David Nuffer handed down a strongly worded decision Wednesday denying state arguments that the price was too high.

“The political judgment of the state that it will enact a statute contrary to existing law and risk payment of legal fees is a legitimate choice, but it has consequences,” he wrote.

Lawmakers and the governor in the conservative, predominantly Mormon state had backed a law that’s largely aimed at strip clubs but also prohibited serving booze during films with simulated sex or full-frontal nudity. A movie theater sued in 2016 after Utah regulators threatened to fine it up to $25,000.

The state defended the measure in court, calling liquor and sex an “explosive combination,” even after Idaho lawmakers repealed a similar law.

The Utah attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Nuffer struck down the law last year as a violation of First Amendment rights, ruling the theater Brewvies is not an adult-oriented establishment and “Deadpool” is a mainstream, R-rated movie.

Successful plaintiffs are often granted attorneys’ fees, and the state has conceded Brewvies was entitled to some money to cover its legal bills.

Liquor authorities were concerned about a suggestive scene in the film’s credits involving a cartoon unicorn, among other things. The theater’s attorney and former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson argued that the law was so vague it would apply to Michelangelo’s “David.”

His office was awarded about $475,000 in attorneys’ fees and an additional $3,800 in other legal costs. Nuffer did deduct $22,000 in proceeds from an online fundraiser that attracted a donation from “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds.

Written by LINDSAY WHITEHURST, Associated Press.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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  • bikeandfish September 27, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    This was an obscene abuse of power by tge state and people should lose their jobs over it.

  • The Rest Of The Story September 27, 2018 at 10:24 pm

    Let The Bodies Hit The Floor!

  • Striker4 September 28, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Ha Ha Utah got spanked

  • Mike September 28, 2018 at 6:26 am

    It’s about time. If I wanted to adhere to Mormon Church doctrine, I’d just join the Mormon Church. (No, that is not an invitation to send 18 year old “elders” to my door.)

  • NickDanger September 28, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I don’t see what people are so happy about. Unless you live across the state line, that’s your half-million dollars that’s just been awarded to an attorney.

    • AnnieMated September 28, 2018 at 1:39 pm

      I don’t care about the money. I might not ever attend that movie theatre. I’m happy about the fact that narrow minded hypocrites like yourself can’t prevent a full grown adult from enjoying a beer with their movie.

  • iceplant September 28, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    HAHA! Take that, Utar!

  • Kilroywashere September 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I went to Brewvies when I was in SLC to see the Dalai Llama speaker at the University of Utah.. Cool place. Can we get one here? We can dance in the streets now!

  • comments September 28, 2018 at 2:50 pm

    Well, that’s Utah for you–a state where it’s the a grave sin to have a bear with your movie (it angers THE LORD!), but at the same time it’s ok for a mormon cult to exist in a little remote border town, where the Prophet of this cult rapes hundreds of little girls over a period of many years, and the church-run gov’t of UT turns a blind eye and allows this Prophet of the LORD to get away with these things. Figure it out… I haven’t yet…

  • Mike P September 29, 2018 at 11:52 am

    liquor and sex an is an “explosive combination”? afraid someone is going to fall asleep during sex or the movie?

  • Borowiak Mark September 30, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Who’s stuck with the half million dollar bill? Another reason for taxes to be raised.

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