Los Angeles Business Journal

Judge Weakens Portions of County's Adult-Film Condom Law

Monday, August 19, 2013

A federal judge has ruled that some sections of Los Angeles County’s mandatory condom law for adult film production are unconstitutional and cannot be enforced.

In a 34-page ruling issues on Aug. 17, U.S. District Court Judge Dean Pregerson concluded that provisions of Measure B were prior restraint on making adult films because the county health department would have too much discretion in denying a filming permit and the measure is too broad in its language about preventing the spread of disease on adult film sets.

“The department is given no guidance as to what types of diseases or what types of transmission methods applies,” the ruling stated. “Indeed (it) would seem to authorize revoking a permit if a cameraman were working with a cold.”

However, the judge said Measure B still requires that adult productions receive a no-cost permit from the county, adult performers must use condoms, and that criminal charges can be brought against violators.

Pregerson also found that enforcement of Measure B violated the Fourth Amendment because it gives the county the power to “enter and inspect any location” where adult filming is taking place.

“Given that adult filming could occur almost anywhere, Measure B would seem to authorize a health officer to enter and search any part of a private home in the middle of the night, because he suspects violations are occurring,” the ruling said. “While administrative searches cannot occur, nothing prevents law enforcement from obtaining a warrant to enforce Measure B.”

Measure B was approved by voters in November in a ballot initiative backed by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation in Hollywood. AHF President Michael Weinstein and several other representatives of the organization were allowed to intervene in the case being heard in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Vivid Entertainment, one of the largest producers of adult films in the San Fernando Valley, and performers Kayden Kross and Logan Pierce filed a lawsuit in January challenging the new law and asking for a court order to prevent enforcement.

Weinstein called the ruling a victory.

“(This) will go a long way to safeguard the health and safety of those adult performers working in the industry,” Weinstein said in a prepared statement.

Steve Hirsch, founder and co-chairman of Vivid Entertainment, was pleased that parts of law were found unconstitutional but expressed disappointment that Pregerson salvaged a portion of Measure B for enforcement without a way to fund it.

“We continue to believe this unfunded mandate infringes upon our freedom of speech and we will continue our fight by filing an immediate appeal to this portion of the court’s ruling,” Hirsch said in a prepared statement.