Attorneys for an area club challenging the states new anti-smoking law want the court to prohibit enforcement of the law while the case progresses through federal court.
Filed in June by the American Legion Post 243 in Ligonier, the lawsuit attacks the states anti-smoking legislation, which took effect July 1, as being too vague, violating the equal protection clauses, and being a violation of the states freedom of conscience provision.
The lawsuit names the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, Indiana Department of Health, and Noble County Prosecutor Steve Clouse as defendants.
The statewide smoking ban has an exemption for non-private clubs, such as the American Legion, but prohibits children from being allowed in the clubs smoking rooms.
The lawsuit argued that the states new rule doesnt prohibit smoking in casinos, so there is no reason to single out fraternal clubs.
The defendants would suffer no financial repercussions from delayed enforcement, but enacting the law does cause harm to the plaintiffs, according to court documents.
On Tuesday, attorneys for the post asked a U.S. District Court judge to grant their request for a preliminary injunction, banning enforcement of the law while the case proceeds.
According to court documents, members of the post voted within the past two years to allow smoking on the premises, and the post is open to the public about twice a week.
For example, as the post is a private club that is occasionally open to the public, does the statute and the prohibition against smoking automatically apply to the post even when it operates as a private club? Legion attorneys asked in the lawsuit.
Granting a preliminary injunction would mean only that the state goes back to operating as it had before the ban took effect about six weeks ago, according to court documents.
Being comprised of veterans who fought for our country and the constitutions that protect it, Post 243 is genuinely and seriously concerned about the statutes obvious intrusion into their moral and personal lives, attorney Scott Barnhart argued in court documents.
Bryan Corbin, spokesman for the attorney general, said the office is reviewing the plaintiffs motion and will file a response with the court when it is the appropriate time.