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Lawsuit to challenge county condom measure

By Edwin Folven, 1/17/2013

Vivid Entertainment seeks to stop condom in porn law

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A lawsuit has been filed seeking to block implementation of Measure B — the County of Los Angeles Safer Sex in the Adult Film Industry Act — which was approved by voters last November and requires condom usage in adult films.

The lawsuit, which lists the Vivid Entertainment production company as lead plaintiff, was filed on Jan. 11 in United States District Court. It names the County of Los Angeles; Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health; and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey as defendants. The lawsuit seeks to block the new law from taking effect, primarily on First Amendment challenges.

Representatives of AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), one of the main sponsors of Measure B, said they are confident the law will stand.

“The adult film industry has every right to pursue its day in court to try and address concerns about Measure B. However, we are confident in our position and in the legality of Measure B,” AHF president Michael Weinstein said. “We believe it is extremely unlikely that the porn industry will prevail here. Regardless, we are going to keep fighting for the safety of the workers in adult films in California and elsewhere and will seek clarification from state officials and in the state regulations overseeing the health and safety of workers in these films.”

Measure B requires producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the county, follow all health and safety laws, including condom use, and pay a permit fee to cover enforcement of the law.

Attorney Paul J. Cambria, of LipsitzGreenScimeCambria LLP, said it infringes on the adult film producers’ First Amendment rights because it would restrict creative expression. Cambria, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Vivid Entertainment, also said the adult film industry already requires performers to be tested, which he claimed is effective in limiting the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

“The creative end of it is being tampered with. It has everything to do with the First Amendment. It is requiring you to pay a fee and get permission from the government to create a piece of artistic expression,” Cambria said. “Testing worked fine. This is not the least drastic means of addressing the issue. You have to use the narrowest way of accomplishing your goal, and the narrowest way was in testing.”

Although approved, the county and city of Los Angeles are currently working to determine how the law will be enforced, and there is no timeline for implementation. The lawsuit filed also seeks an injunction to prevent Measure B from being implemented.

“Unfortunately, the industry has tried everything so far except exploring how they might actually comply with the law,” Weinstein added.

 

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