Cafe 207, Inc. v. St. Johns County, 92-2524

Decision Date30 April 1993
Docket NumberNo. 92-2524,92-2524
Citation989 F.2d 1136
PartiesCAFE 207, INC., a Florida corporation, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. ST. JOHNS COUNTY, a political subdivision of the State of Florida, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit

Hankin & Beverly, P.A., Gary S. Edinger, Gainesville, FL, for plaintiff-appellant.

Ulmer, Murchison, Ashby & Taylor, Jacksonville, FL, James G. Sisco, Office of the County Atty. for St. Johnson County, Linda R. Hurst, St. Augustine, FL, for defendant-appellee.

Luke Charles Lirot, Clearwater, FL, Peggy M. Hodges, American Family Ass'n Law Center, Tupelo, MS, Mark R. Brown, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of FL, Professor of Law, Stetson University, College of Law, St. Petersburg, FL, for amici.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Before COX, Circuit Judge, and MORGAN and HENDERSON, Senior Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM:

This is an appeal from the district court's denial of a petition for a preliminary injunction to bar enforcement of an antinudity ordinance. We affirm.

The appellant, Cafe 207, Inc., operates a restaurant called Cafe Erotica in St. Johns County, Florida (the "County"). Initially, nude female dancers performed at Cafe Erotica. Soon after Cafe Erotica opened, however, the St. Johns County Commission enacted an ordinance that generally prohibits public nudity in unincorporated areas of the County. See St. Johns County, Fla., Ordinance 92-12 (Apr. 21, 1992). The ordinance requires "fully opaque covering" over certain parts of the human body, including the genitals and pubic area and specified percentages of the buttocks and female breasts. Id. § 3(b)-(c), (f). Cafe 207 raises First Amendment, vagueness, overbreadth and equal protection challenges to the ordinance.

For the most part, both parties have briefed and argued this appeal as if it were from a final judgment on the merits. This is not, however, an appeal from a final judgment. 1 The case reaches us under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(a)(1) (1988) as an interlocutory appeal from an order denying a preliminary injunction. (See Appellant's Br. at viii.) "Consequently, only the action on the preliminary injunction is presently reviewable." Scott Paper Co. v. Gulf Coast Pulpwood Ass'n. Inc., 491 F.2d 119, 119 (5th Cir.1974). 2

We will disturb the district court's denial of the preliminary injunction only if the court abused its discretion. Lucero v. Operation Rescue, 954 F.2d 624, 627 (11th Cir.1992). To justify a preliminary injunction, Cafe 207 must show (1) a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits; (2) an irreparable injury if the injunction does not issue; (3) a threatened injury to Cafe 207 that is greater than any damage the preliminary injunction would cause the County; and (4) the absence of any adverse effect on the public interest if the injunction issues. United States v. Jefferson County, 720 F.2d 1511, 1519 (11th Cir.1983). A preliminary injunction is a "drastic remedy," and Cafe 207 bears the burden to clearly establish each of the four prerequisites. Id. Moreover, as we review the denial of the preliminary injunction, "[n]o attention is paid to the merits of the controversy beyond that necessary to determine the presence or absence of an abuse of discretion." Di Giorgio v. Causey, 488 F.2d 527, 529 (5th Cir.1973).

The district court held that Cafe 207 does not have a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits in light of the Supreme Court's decision in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., --- U.S. ----, 111 S.Ct. 2456, 115 L.Ed.2d 504 (1991) (upholding an Indiana antinudity ordinance against a First Amendment challenge). Whether the district court's determination of this point is right or wrong, the record before us indicates no abuse of discretion. See United States v. Lambert, 695 F.2d 536, 540 (11th Cir.1983) ("A review of the record reveals that although the district court might have issued an injunction, a denial was clearly within its discretion."). Therefore, we will not disturb the decision of the district court.

We emphasize that "[t]his affirmance is based solely upon the breadth of the district...

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  • Hill v. Butterworth
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida
    • August 7, 1996
    ...one of these elements requires this Court to deny Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction. Cafe 207, Inc. v. St. Johns County, 989 F.2d 1136, 1137 (11th Cir.1993). Each of these elements will be addressed A. Substantial likelihood of success on the merits: Defendants raise several g......
  • Campos v. I.N.S.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Florida
    • October 16, 1998
    ...remedy which should not be granted absent a clear showing that the moving party has met its burden of proof. Cafe 207 v. St. Johns County, 989 F.2d 1136, 1137 (11th Cir.1993). Preserving the court's ability to render a meaningful decision after a trial on the merits is the primary justifica......
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    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Florida
    • November 20, 1995
    ...one of these elements requires this Court to deny Plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. Cafe 207, Inc. v. St. Johns County, 989 F.2d 1136, 1137 (11th Cir.1993). Although the Court has found that the Third Congressional District was the product of racial gerrymandering, the partie......
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    • United States
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    • March 23, 2005
    ...extraordinary remedy, and the moving party "bears the burden to clearly establish the four prerequisites." Cafe 207, Inc. v. St. Johns County, 989 F.2d 1136, 1137 (11th Cir.1993). It is clear from our cases that proof of a substantial likelihood of success on the merits is an indispensable ......
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