Rhode Island SC: City's fine on business was excessive

John O'Brien Jan. 19, 2007, 4:09pm

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - An adult entertainment club had its fine reduced by Rhode Island's Supreme Court on Friday.

Cadillac Lounge filed suit against The City of Providence, arguing that a fine of $2,500 for conducting business past 1 a.m. was unfair. The Supreme Court agreed and lowered it to $1,000.

The two sides argued before the court Dec. 5, and Justice William Robinson wrote the opinion.

"We hold that the maximum fine allowable for each violation of Providence Ordinance 14-1 is $500 and that the (Providence Board of Licenses) exceeded its jurisdiction by imposing a fine of $2,500," Robinson wrote.

Cadillac Lounge was served with a cease-and-desist order on July 1, 2005, after it was discovered that it was conducting business past a 1 a.m. deadline.

The Board of Licenses decided Cadillac Lounge had twice violated a Providence ordinance and ordered a fine of $2,500.

A month later, Cadillac Lounge filed a complaint, asserting that the Board abused its discretion in imposing the fine. It said the maximum fine allowable for each violation was only $20.

The Court found that the maximum fine, according to city law, was $500.

Chief Justice Frank Williams and justices Maureen McKenna Goldberg and Paul Suttell all concurred. Justice Francis Flaherty did not participate.

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