Lake Worth FL Government Law: City, deputies named in Mojito’s bar lawsuit

Legal News for Florida Government Attorneys. A bar manager cited the U.S. Constitution in a lawsuit, which seeks permission for the bar to serve alcohol past 2 a.m.

News for Florida government lawyers- A federal lawsuit names the city of Lake Worth and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies as defendants.

Lake Worth, FL—A Lake Worth bar manager, who claims the establishment was grandfathered in as a late-night bar given that it has operated as such since the 1930s, filed a federal lawsuit to enable the bar to continue serving alcohol past 2 a.m. The complaint, which alleges deputies repeatedly shut down Mojito’s The Retreat for operating and selling alcoholic beverages after 2 a.m., was filed in U.S. District Court on Friday, April 23, 2010, according to information provided by the Palm Beach Post.

The city of Lake Worth, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and Deputy Gerald Deneen were named as defendants in the suit, which seeks an excess of $250,000 in reparations for “lost business and damage to the company’s reputation.” The suit also asked that the bar be legally permitted to serve alcohol until 5 a.m.

The parent company, Mojito’s The Retreat LLC, which owns the bar at 129 N. Federal Highway in Lake Worth, Florida, alleged that when deputies enforced the city ordinance, the owner’s constitutional rights to free use of the property were violated. The bar’s manager, Ed Muller, also noted the bulk of the bar’s profit is made between 1 and 3 a.m.

Reports stated Mojito’s The Retreat made a request to be considered a nightclub in August, which would permit the establishment to serve alcohol until 5 a.m. However, the request was denied and since that time, police authorities have allegedly forced Mojito’s The Retreat to shut its doors approximately 10 times, according to the Muller.

The suit contends, “The sheriff, at the behest of Lake Worth, began harassing and intimidating Mojito’s by sending its deputies to drive slowly by the bar at night and approach the door informing people that Mojito’s had no right to stay open late night.”

While the city of Lake Worth contested Muller’s claim that the bar was grandfathered in as a late-night bar, City Attorney Elaine Humphreys noted the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit and would not comment on the matter. The case continues.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Florida Government Lawyers.