YAKIMA, Wash. — A U.S. District judge has ordered Yakima to pay Jamie Muffett more than $36,000 for attorney’s fees and trial costs accumulated during his protracted legal fight to open a strip club in the city.
In 2010, Muffett sued Yakima, arguing that it had unconstitutionally denied his application to open a strip club in the city.
In July, a jury awarded Muffett $9,570 to cover money he’d spent on preparing and filing his application. Muffett also claimed $1.6 million in lost profits, but the jury denied the claim.
Since Muffett won part of his suit against the city, U.S. District Chief Judge Rosanna Peterson ruled that the city is partially liable for attorney’s fees and trial costs.
Peterson’s decision, which was filed Tuesday, requires the city to pay Muffett $35,748 in attorney’s fees and $903 in trial costs — nearly four times the amount paid for damages.
Muffett had sought to open Sinsations Gentlemen’s Club at 2308 S. First St. in 2010, but the city denied him a license, saying the business would be incompatible in the area despite meeting zoning requirements.
In July, Peterson ruled that Muffett’s civil rights had been violated. In her ruling, she said the city needed to be clearer in determining why an adult business wouldn’t be compatible in a given area.
In response to the ruling, Yakima City Council amended two ordinances on Tuesday regarding zoning and licensing requirements for adult entertainment businesses. Included in the ordinances were requirements that adult entertainment be limited to areas zoned for light industrial uses and clarified standards to meet city licensing.
After spending more than a year trying to open the Yakima strip club, Muffett changed directions and opened a more conventional night club at 107 S. First St. named Tuscan II Night Club, named after Tuscan Sands, his night club and sports bar in Zillah.