Utah Spent Half-a-Million in Taxpayer Cash to Sue a Movie Theater for Showing Deadpool

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(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To This Post)

Being our semi-regular weekly survey of what’s goin’ down in the several states where, as we know, the real work of government’ gets done, and where, if you go down in the flood, it’s gonna be your fault.

We begin this week behind, as Top Commenter Roy Webb calls it, the Zion Curtain, where a federal judge got fed right up to his eyebrows with our litigious society, and with the Utah legislature, not necessarily in that order. From Fox13 in SLC:

“While the effect of attorneys’ fee awards on the public treasury is something that the State may properly consider in enacting, enforcing, and defending legislation, that effect has nothing to do with the reasonableness of Brewvies’ attorneys’ fees. 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,” Judge Nuffer wrote, adding:”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.”

I’ve often wondered why there isn’t more political salience and more political consequences for state legislatures that waste their taxpayers’ money defending laws they know—or ought to know—are unconstitutional, and cases that they know—or ought to know—are hopeless. People should lose their jobs behind some of this stuff.

This particular cause of action was not only hopeless, but embarrassingly trivial.

The ruling effectively ends a lawsuit that centered around the Salt Lake City movie theater, which faced revocation of its liquor license last year for showing the movie “Deadpool.” Utah liquor laws forbade licensees from showing anything with full nudity or sexually explicit conduct. Brewvies had previously faced trouble for showing “The Hangover Part II,” “Ted 2” and “Magic Mike XXL.”

Get over yourselves, people. Ted 2 is not worth spending half-a-million dollars over. I’m not entirely sure it made that much at the box office. It certainly shouldn’t have.

We move on up to West Virginia, where there is a pipeline project, which means that there are rich people lying and cheating all over the place. From TruthDig, ProPublica, and The Charleston Gazette-Mail:

On Tuesday, a federal appeals court blocked a key permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline, a 300-mile natural gas project that’s known as MVP. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers wrongly approved a permit that allowed MVP to temporarily dam four of West Virginia’s rivers so the pipeline can be buried beneath the streambeds.

But rather than pausing or rethinking the project, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has already been rewriting the state construction standards for pipeline river crossings that prompted the appeals court to block the plan. Once that happens, MVP will apply for a new Clean Water Act permit, which it expects to secure in early 2019, said Natalie Cox, a spokeswoman for the pipeline’s developers. Developers still expect the pipeline to be in service by the fourth quarter of 2019, she said.

“MVP is committed to the safety of its communities, to the preservation and protection of the environment, and to the continued responsible construction of this important natural gas infrastructure project that will serve homes and business in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast United States,” Cox said in a statement.

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