Torrance Tattoo Parlor Ban Again Challenged in Court

Tattoo ParlorA city ordinance that makes it unlawful to operate a business where tattooing is practiced is again being challenged in federal court. If the challenge is successful, it will open the door for tattoo establishments to begin operating within Torrance.

Plaintiff Tiffany Garcia recently filed a lawsuit with the Central District of California alleging that the Torrance prohibition against tattoo businesses violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution as well as Article 1, Section 2 of the California Constitution.

In the lawsuit, Garcia claims that in early 2015 she located a desirable site for a tattoo studio on Hawthorne Blvd. in Torrance. When she went to secure the appropriate permits from the City she was informed by the Planning Department that tattoo businesses are flatly prohibited anywhere within City limits and that the ban was recently considered and left unmodified.

Garcia is seeking that the Torrance ordinance be declared unconstitutional and the City be immediately enjoined from enforcing the ban. Garcia is also seeking damages for the loss of her rights and for being deprived of the opportunity to operate the business. The suit also seeks attorney fees and costs of suit.

The lawsuit relies on 2010 ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that struck down a similar ban in neighboring Hermosa Beach. In that Anderson v. Hermosa Beach case, the Court held that “the tattoo itself, the process of tattooing, and the business of tattooing are forms of pure expression fully protected by the First Amendment,” and that “the City’s total ban on tattoo parlors in Hermosa Beach is not a reasonable “time, place, or manner” restriction because it is substantially broader than necessary to achieve the City’s significant health and safety interests and because it entirely forecloses a unique and important method of expression.”

The issue created a stir among many residents in Hermosa Beach at the time of the court ruling and is likely to spur similar sentiments in Torrance.  According to the Daily Breeze, the same plaintiff in the Hermosa Beach case was paid $50,000 to settle a similar case he brought against Torrance prior to initiating legal action against Hermosa Beach.

3 comments

  • A J Plourde

    In reference to this Lawsuit filed against the City of Torrance, I believe strongly that a city and it’s community should have the ability to select what kind of businesses they allow in their city limits. A Tattoo parlor in this town is out of context and out of place, with what this city is and represents. This is not a community that likes things out of the ordinary stable lifestyle of which a Tattoo parlor would create. The type of people it would draw would not be the typical resident of the confines of this city. The city and the community should be able to maintain the community in the manner they like without outside influence to force them into something they have no desire to have within the city.

    It is clear that a city ordinance has been enacted not recently but long ago regarding this type of business, and so Torrance has shown and demonstrated through this that they do not want these type of businesses within the city.

    This is not a violation of someone, this is a business decision concerning the type of businesses that would be welcomed in Torrance. No personal agenda is being carried out against an individtual and therefore I believe the judge who heard the case of Hermosa Beach was in the wrong. There has to be certain capability with regards to the principles and values of a community vs the everyman for himself type attitude that some take with regards to what is not possibly the best benefit of the community. I am rooting for a judge who allows the City of Torrance to pick and choose the businesses they deem useful to the City and not allow just any one to come here and open any type of business they choose. Cities have rights too, as well as citizens. If I had the opportunity to vote on this issue I would vote “NO” on the allowance of such a type of busineess as this party wishes to force into the community here. I suggest they find another location that would be a better fit for the type of business they propose to open a long ways away from our happy nice commuity of citizens of Torrance.

    • Chris Yvon

      You sound ignorant and judgemental towards what and who you think “tattooed people” are. The first admendment was written exactly for people like you who think you can segregate discriminate and deem who and what is nesscessary

  • D. Benner

    Fortunately, we are a free county whose citizens still retain and enjoy some protected rights.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

    Although I don’t personally have any, I think tattoos may figure in to some people’s prusit of happiness.

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