Court upholds Indianapolis smoking ban, bar owners likely to appeal

INDIANAPOLIS — Several Indianapolis business owners will likely appeal a recent decision that upheld the City’s smoking ban, according to their attorney.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled, Wednesday, that the 2012 smoking ordinance was constitutional, despite a lawsuit filed by opponents of the ban challenging its efforts.

Bar owners like Phyllis Borem claimed their business suffered as soon as the ordinance went into affect.

“Our sales went down about 50%,” said Borem of Rift Raft on the City’s near east side. “I feel like they took our rights away.”

Part of the judge’s decision read ‘The fact that their businesses have suffered from an economic standpoint, while unfortunate, does not establish that they have lost “all economically beneficial use” of their property. Therefore, Plaintiffs’ taking claim cannot succeed on the merits.’

“I’m very disappointed,” said Borem who added that she is contemplating layoffs to make ends meet. “We have to deal with. We have no choice.”

On the flip side, Smoke Free Indy said it somewhat expected the decision.

“We’re very excited,” said Lindsay Grace, Chair of the group. “Many courts including courts right here in Indiana have found that these laws are indeed constitutional. They are within the rights of our city county councilors, our state legislators to pass these sorts of laws.”

An attorney representing Borem and more than a dozen other business owners said an appeal is likely in the near future.