Scott Bergthold has staked his professional reputation on fighting adult-oriented businesses, so much so that his website is adultbusinesslaw.com. The Tennessee-based lawyer has set up shop in Dallas on the city’s dime (total so far: $245,000), hired to block the Exxxotica adult expo from returning to the city-owned Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center.
His track record has had ups and downs. While he lists a number of successes on his website, most are related to penning sexually oriented business ordinances (SOB) that will stand up in court. Dallas already has a tested-and-tried SOB.
When it comes to fighting sexually oriented businesses just because they aren’t well liked in the community, Bergthold has seen some recent failures. In January, a judge largely ruled against his clients, a set of Catholic nuns in Chicago, who sought to have the strip club next door closed. The nuns have vowed to keep fighting.
In 2015, Sarasota, Fla., was slapped with a $5.1 million lawsuit after Bergthold represented the city as part of a so-far unsuccessful attempt to crack down on a strip club, one piece of a messy, decade-old ongoing legal battle. However, the city was successful in requiring the club’s dancers to cover their intimate areas.
It should be noted that both of those cases dealt with privately held land, while the Exxxotica battle is over access to a city-owned convention center. So far, Bergtholds arguments have resonated with the courts, which was demonstrated last week when U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater sided with the city on a preliminary injunction that would have lifted the ban and allowed Exxxotica to return next month as the organizers had planned. It’s yet to be seen if the organizers of Exxxotica will continue their fight to bring the convention back to Dallas.