Las Vegas Sun

December 22, 2014

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Swingers club owner’s fate depends upon legal jurisdiction

The fate of a Las Vegas swingers club owner who had two Justice Court cases filed against him in February continues to hang in the balance.

County officials are accusing Joseph Cavaretta, president of Make U Sweat Inc., the parent company of the Green Door, of operating an adult theater without a license because he offers guests Internet access. But the cases might not go forward due to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed by the owner that questions the constitutionality of the charges.

Cavaretta's lawyer, Allen Lichtenstein, said the Las Vegas Justice court lacks the jurisdiction to hear the cases.

Lichtenstein said the cases are "not the typical Justice Court cases because they are a matter of law, not facts."

Because the two cases, one before Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Nancy Oesterle and another before Justice of the Peace Deborah Lippis, were filed before the federal case, it remains unclear what will happen.

On Wednesday Lippis advised both Lichtenstein and prosecutors to work together to determine if Justice Court is the proper venue for the Green Door case, and, if they can't agree before Aug. 20, Lippis said she will ask both parties to file written briefs.

Lichtenstein said a trial date in the identical matter before Oesterle was already scheduled for Aug. 5. He said Oesterle had said if a federal case were filed the case might be postponed.

Lichtenstein said prosecutors could agree to hold both cases, file motions on the issue of jurisdiction and perhaps even go ahead without dealing with the question of jurisdiction.

The misdemeanor charges carry the potential for up to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail for Cavaretta.

Lichtenstein said Cavaretta never intended to file the federal case, but after negotiating unsuccessfully with the county since April, Cavaretta felt he had no other options.

The federal suit asks that a judge find that the citations violate the club's constitutional rights to free speech and to issue an injunction to prevent the enforcement of vague county code that would classify the Green Door as an adult theater because it offers Internet access.

The federal suit also names the county's business licensing department, the department's director Janet Holloway and the Nevada Department of Business License as defendants.

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