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Couple sues for right to open business that caters to swingers

On Behalf of | Mar 14, 2018 | Business Law |

Some businesses are harder to get open than others. Communities often make a concentrated effort to block businesses that they deem “disreputable” from going into “nice” neighborhoods.

Bars and tattoo parlors are frequent victims of this kind of bias. So are clubs that are designed as mixing grounds for people of “alternative” lifestyles.

A Michigan couple is finding the opposition virtually overwhelming after years of trying to defeat officials who have repeatedly blocked their attempts to build a private club aimed at adult couples known as “swingers.” The club would be a safe meeting ground for couples interested in swapping sexual partners for a night.

At least it would be, if the couple wasn’t giving up their dream after three years of legal fights with local officials who don’t want the club to open. The couple now believes that even if they successfully manage to open their business that officials will create constant trouble for them and destroy whatever business they have.

While the couple may be giving up their dream, they aren’t giving up the battle. They are now suing the Summit Township officials who have thwarted them, claiming that their rights have been violated.

At one point, the township allowed the project to go on without obstruction. The couple had purchased a commercially-zoned building and spent thousands on renovations and improvements. All were done according to the proper work permits — which the township issued. Then, apparently, someone told one of the township officials the nature of the club being built and the work permits were abruptly withdrawn.

The township’s representatives were able to successfully block the club in court, but have spent around $80,000 to do it so far. They’ll now be forced to defend their actions in the upcoming lawsuit. If they lose, they’ll also end up reimbursing the business for its losses.

Whenever you go to open a new business, it’s important to be transparent about what you intend to do. That way, you don’t end up pouring a lot of money into a location and a dream only to find yourself blocked at every turn.

Source:, “Foiled at opening Jackson County swingers club, couple sues township in federal court,” Bill Laitner, March 05, 2018


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