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Smoking-ban lawsuit is on hold

Publication Date: 2005-05-24
  • Publication:Providence (RI) Journal-Bulletin
A lawyer for The Neighborhood Pub Association says he believes his clients "will be moving to dismiss the case."

At the end of March, the bar and restaurant owned had sued the state saying that exemptions in the ban for some small bars and private clubs and the state's two gambling halls were unfair and caused them to lose money.

Superior Court Judge Stephen J. Fortunato Jr. issued a temporary restraining order, saying that the exemptions for some holders of class C and D liquor licenses were unconstitutional, essentially ending smoking there. Lawmakers were quick to turn the decision into law, amending the smoking ban to remove the exemptions.

Raymond A. Brooks, head of The Neighborhood Pub Association which brought the suit, originally had said his group would drop the court proceedings if the General Assembly acted.

However, minutes after Governor Carcieri signed the legislation into law on May 4, Brooks announced that the association's members changed their minds. Because exemptions still remain for some gambling spaces and bars -- but not restaurants -- at Lincoln Park and Newport Grand, the association was going to press on.