The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the state is on the hook for $474,455.22 to attorney Rocky Anderson, who defended the local theater chain Brewvies Cinema Pub in a case stemming back to the 2016 release of Deadpool.
The case began when Utah's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control threatened to fine Brewvies up to $25,000 and temporarily rescind the venue's liquor license because it was screening Deadpool. Brewvies, like many movie theaters nowadays, serves alcohol for its screenings. The issue came because Utah state law bans serving alcohol during films with full-frontal nudity or simulated sex acts.
Brewvies filed a lawsuit against the state and won last August. The latest ruling puts the state on the hook for the substantial legal fees from Brewvies' representation.
Federal Judge David Nuffer decided on the ruling as well as the legal fees the state must now pay. In his ruling, Nuffer criticized the state Legislature for unconstitutional laws that violate free speech.
"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," Nuffer wrote in his ruling. "As long as the Legislature passes laws which the attorney general is obligated to defend, the financial risks to the State and taxpayers will continue. Legislative enactment of constitutional legislation — and abandonment or non-enforcement of unconstitutional legislation — is a better way to avoid this type of fee award."
The judgement also threw out the state law, so Brewvies didn't have any problems screening Deadpool 2 this time around.
The case has been in the national discussion ever since the fines were first imposed on Brewviews. When the theater chain decided to go to court, they raised money to help pay for the substantial legal fees. This caused Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds to pitch in, and he donated $5000 to Brewviews.
Utah citizens, and everyone else, can now enjoy the Deadpool movies in the comfort of their own homes while drinking alcoholic beverages. Deadpool 2 is now available on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital HD.