Psychic Business Lawsuit Settled in Hattiesburg, MS

August 9th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Last August, psychic business owners Tommy and Marie Costello sued the City of Hattiesburg, Mississippi over the closure of their business – Psychic Marie.

Hattiesburg had shut their business down based on a law from 1929 banning fortune-telling within city limits.

The Costellos argued that the ban was an unconstitutional restraint on their right to free speech and due process. In their lawsuit, they asked for its repeal, and for unspecified damages.

The city of course disagreed, and responded that the ban was a legitimate regulation meant to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Hattiesburg.

In November, U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett ruled in favour of the Costellos and issued a preliminary injunction against the fortune-telling ordinance. In early December, Hattiesburg repealed the law.

Now finally, the story is almost coming to a close for the Costellos. Just last week, the City of Hattiesburg settled the lawsuit and agreed to pay $7,500 in damages.

Given that their business was shut down for almost a year, it’s not a lot of money, but it’s still quite a victory.

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Fortune-Telling Ban Repealed in Hattiesburg, Mississippi

December 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Tommy and Marie Costello have won their battle against the fortune-telling ban in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Last September they filed suit against the City claiming that the ban was an illegal restriction of free speech in violation of both the U.S. and Mississippi constitutions.

On Tuesday, a federal court agreed, and handed down a preliminary injunction against the ban, prompting Hattiesburg City Attorney Charles Lawrence to recommend that the ordinance be repealed.

According to City Councillor Kim Bradley, it will take another 90 days before the ban is lifted. In the meantime, Council will come up with zoning regulations for new psychic establishments.

As of Tuesday, however, the Costellos and their shop are open and ready for business.

I congratulate them on their win and thank them for their courage to take a stand.

This ban has been in place for almost 100 years, and as Councillor Bradley acknowledges in the news clip below, the change is overdue.

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