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The Fourth District last week backed an Orange County, Calif., sports bar that denied access to motorcycle club members who refused to remove their “colors.” The Hessians Motorcycle Club alleged that J.C. Flanagans, a local tavern, had violated club members’ rights under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The law prohibits businesses from denying any person access to public accommodations based on specified classifications. But the court found that Flanagans appears to welcome everyone to the bar on one condition: that they remove any patches on their motorcycle jackets signifying membership to any particular motorcycle club. In a unanimous opinion, the court concluded that the rule is not discriminatory, as it applies to everyone regardless of race, color or sex. In fact, the justices noted, Flanagans does not refuse admittance for any other reason. “The Hessians concede bikers wearing full motorcycle regalia are welcomed in the bar. Its management does not blink at long hair, leather or tattoos,” wrote Justice Richard Aronson, sitting pro tem from the Orange County Superior Court. Rather, the court reasoned that the general rule appears to stem from valid security concerns and small-business finance. “Barroom brawls are usually costly affairs involving extensive damage, repairs and loss of customers,” the court ruled. “The prevention of brawls is surely a legitimate business interest.” SUCKED DRY At his swearing-in ceremony last week, First District Court of Appeal Justice Mark Simons thanked colleagues and friends for supporting his nomination. He also expressed his gratitude to Burt Pines, commending the governor’s judicial appointment secretary for administering an extremely thorough interview process. Simons recalls one of his interviews in Sacramento. He said he presumed the process would take about half an hour to 45 minutes. “Three hours later,” Simons said, “I emerged feeling something like a well-vacuumed carpet.”

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