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Tattoo Policy Challenges Dismissed

Then, tattoo artists sue Hermosa Beach for rights to open shop, and win. Now, residents challenge the city's tattoo policy, and some claims get dismissed.

The majority of claims made in a lawsuit against Hermosa Beach, which called for changes in the city’s tattoo policy, have been dismissed, the city announced Tuesday.

A group of Hermosa Beach residents called Citizens United argued that the city neglected to give proper notice before deciding how to regulate tattoo parlors in town and challenged the city’s tattoo ordinance.

City Council candidate Hany Fangary, who has called for tougher tattoo regulation, was listed on court documents as one of the plaintiff's attorneys.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant on Tuesday dismissed the principle claims in the case.

"We are pleased with the court’s decision because now the city enjoys certainty. Tattoo studios are limited to those that comply with the standards adopted by the City Council," said City Attorney Michael Jenkins in a statement following the court ruling.

The ink wars in Hermosa Beach began in 2007, when Johnny Anderson, who now owns on Pier Plaza,  after it repeatedly rejected his efforts to open a tattoo parlor in town. Hermosa Beach at the time had a ban on tattoo studios operating within city limits.

Anderson’s case reached the U.S. 9th Circuit court of Appeals, which that tattooing is a form of expression protected by the First Amendment and required Hermosa Beach to overturn its ban on such businesses.

The panel decision was the highest court ruling to date that addresses tattooing and First Amendment protection.

In months following, the Hermosa Beach City Council decided to place restrictions on where tattoo studios could open in town, their hours (with a 10 p.m. closing time) and their manner of operation.

Now there are four tattoo studios open in town, according to the city. Hermosa Beach’s tattoo ordinance took effect in December 2010, and the Citizens United lawsuit challenging the city measure was filed April 14.

The remaining monetary damage claims in the lawsuit will be assigned to another judge, according to the city.

Earlier Patch coverage of Hermosa Beach's tattoo policy:

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