Judge mulling over Starvin Marvin's injunction request

By David Yates | May 2, 2011

For four days, Judge Donald Floyd has digested polarizing arguments on whether he should grant a temporary injunction that would permit live music to continue at Starvin Marvin's Bar and Grill.

As of Monday, May 2, the judge of the Jefferson County 172nd District Court has not made a ruling.

Restaurant owner Marvin Atwood filed suit against the city of Beaumont on March 21 in Jefferson County District Court, seeking a permanent injunction against a new noise ordinance which would stop the bar from hosting live music on its patio.

The injunction hearing began last Tuesday, April 26 and ended Friday.

During the hearing, City Attorney Tyrone Cooper argued that Judge Floyd lacked the jurisdiction to order an injunction, since Atwood was violating the recently amended public nuisance noise ordinance.

He said the matter belonged in criminal court and not in a court of equity.

Conversely, Atwood's attorney, David Bernsen, contended the amended noise ordinance wrongfully impacted a separate zoning law and violated his client's constitutional property rights.

Bernsen said the constitutional violation gives Judge Floyd jurisdiction.

He argued the city illegally "changed the rules of engagement" by amending the noise ordinance to overrule the zoning law protecting Atwood's live music establishment.

Bernsen added that Atwood spent more than $1 million renovating the interior dining areas and outdoor patio area of the 11th Street restaurant which has been home to several different eating and drinking establishments, including The Hoffbrau.

Atwood also went through the process of obtaining around 32 city permits to make sure he was in accordance with all ordinances.

A court official told the Southeast Texas Record Judge Floyd is expected to make a ruling soon.

Case No. E189-628

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