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Legion Post Dismisses Lawsuit Following Understanding Smoking Ban Does Not Apply to it as a Private Club

American Legion Post 243 filed a motion to dismiss its complaint filed in federal court in the Northern District of Indiana, which challenged the constitutionality of the state-wide smoking ban. In June of this year, the Post elected to pursue a lawsuit in part because it had contacted the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, which indicated that if the Legion was open to the public at all, the state-wide smoking ban would apply at all times. The Post's complaint alleged that certain portions of the statute were unconstitutional and caused irreparable harm to the Post and its members by exposing its members to a fear of prosecution or forcing the members to close the doors to the public completely and fundamentally alter its current operation and involvement within the local community.

However, following a recent trial before Chief Judge Philip Simon, the State through the Attorney General's Office acknowledged that the state-wide smoking ban only applies to Post 243 "at the times the public is invited or permitted to enter." If and when Post 243 is operating as a private club, the statute does not apply. While Post 243 periodically hosts public fundraisers for the benefit of local charities, it typically functions as a private, members-only club.

"The veterans of Post 243 are satisfied with the State's acknowledgement and the understanding that the smoking ban does not apply when the Post is operating as a private club," stated Mr. Barnhart. He continued, "Consequently, the Post has voluntarily moved to dismiss its suit to allow the Court to devote its time and resources to other important matters."