Appeals court vacates injunction on enforcing law setting minimum age for exotic dancers

By Takesha Thomas | Nov 29, 2018

NEW ORLEANS – The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently vacated an injunction that barred the state from enforcing a law prohibiting exotic dancers younger than 21 from performing naked in venues that serve alcohol.

In its Nov. 16 opinion, the appeals court vacated its earlier decision upholding the injunction and instead sided with the state and remanded the case to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana for further proceedings.

The case involves three female dancers between the ages of 18 and 20 who claimed they were forced to stop dancing and work in lower waged positions causing a loss of income after amendments were made to Louisiana law. 

The women, known in the suit as Jane Doe's I,II and III, sued state Attorney General Jeff Landry and Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control Commissioner Juana Marine-Lombard.

The matter involves Act No. 395 from the 2016 regular session of the Louisiana Legislature. According to the court filing, "the act identically amended two Louisiana statutes that regulate activities on premises licensed to serve alcohol, adding a requirement that certain performers be at least 21 years old."

The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control began enforcing the act’s age requirement throughout Louisiana, except in New Orleans, in August 2016, court documents said. 

The three women, who were ages 18, 19, and 20 at the time of the complaint, alleged that the act "violated various provisions of the United States and Louisiana constitutions." 

The district court said, "The plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims that the act is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague." The court then issuing a preliminary statewide injunction barring enforcement of the act. The appeals court then upheld the injunction, an article on nola.com said. 

In its latest opinion, however, the appeals court said, "On this facial challenge, the act is neither unconstitutionally overbroad nor vague."

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