Utah won’t appeal judge’s ruling on ‘Deadpool’ and liquor

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Attorney General’s Office will not appeal a federal judge’s ruling on a law that got a movie theater in trouble for showing “Deadpool.”

A poster of Deadpool lounging on a copy of the U.S. Constitution is on display inside Brewvies in downtown Salt Lake City. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

The decision was tucked into a legal filing in a dispute over attorney’s fees filed in U.S. District Court between the lawyer for Brewvies and the Utah Attorney General’s Office. The state is urging a federal judge to reject a request for more than $530,000 to go to Brewvies and its attorney, Rocky Anderson for prevailing in the case.

Brewvies faced revocation of its liquor license for showing the movie “Deadpool.” Utah liquor laws prohibited licensees from showing anything with full nudity or sexually explicit conduct. The theater had previously faced trouble for showing “The Hangover Part II,” “Ted 2” and “Magic Mike XXL.”

Brewvies sued Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, arguing the law violated its First Amendment free speech and expression rights. In a ruling earlier this year, a federal judge agreed and struck down the law.

In the latest filing, the Utah Attorney General’s Office complained about Anderson and Brewvies demanding so much in attorney’s fees and suggested the amount was inflated.

“Given the Brobdingnagian attorneys’ fees requested by Plaintiff, it is not surprising that counsels’ time records reveal unreasonable amounts of time billed for the identified tasks, unnecessary and duplicative work, and that counsel improperly seek recovery for general research and clerical or administrative tasks performed at exorbitant rates,” assistant Utah Attorney General David Wolf wrote.

Brewvies plans to show one of the films that got it in trouble with the DABC, “The Hangover Part II” on Sept. 1, 2017. (Photo by Ben Winslow, FOX 13 News)

In his own affidavit, Anderson justified the costs for his legal work on the case. He said he even offered it at a discount, partnering with a group called the Liberty Project to help cover the costs of the litigation for the movie theater.

“To ensure that the Liberty Project would remain involved, the Firm discounted fees for my time during several months, sometimes substantially. These discounts were to be deferred charges, to be paid to the Firm in the event of an award of attorneys’ fees,” he wrote.

A federal judge will ultimately decide how much to award.

Read the filing by the Utah Attorney General’s Office here: