The Georgia Court of Appeals issued an opinion Feb. 20 stating that the sex toy store Stardust is in contempt for going against a lower court’s ruling to stop operations because it violates a Brookhaven ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses.
What this exactly means for Stardust, located at 3007 Buford Highway, remains unclear. Cary Wiggins, attorney for Stardust’s owner, Michael Morrison, did not have an immediate comment. City Attorney Chris Balch did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Court of Appeals opinion this week follows the August 2018 ruling by a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals stating Stardust must comply with Brookhaven’s ordinance and stop selling sex toys.
The ruling is part of a legal battle that has ensued since the days of the city’s incorporation in 2012, beginning in DeKalb Superior Court and working its way to date to the Court of Appeals.
Weeks after the city was incorporated, Stardust began selling “sexual devices,” which the city labeled illegal under city ordinance. The city then began code enforcement against Stardust for selling sex toys. In 2013, for example, Stardust was cited by code enforcement more than 500 times.
The city also states Stardust cannot operate legally because of its close proximity to another sexually oriented business, the Pink Pony, and also because it did not clearly define what kind of business it was when it applied for a business license. The business also violates city ordinance because it is near a residential area, according to the city.
Representing the city in the Stardust lawsuit is Scott Bergthold, a Tennessee attorney who specializes in municipal laws cracking down on sexually oriented businesses.