Family Video Case to Resume in April

AUBURN, N.Y. – The court battle pitting Family Video against the city of Auburn will resume in April when a judge will hear the case. The city is seeking to have the sale of X-rated videos in the store barred by court order.

Family Video, part of the third largest chain of video stores in the country, is being sued by the city for selling adult videos within 500 feet of a residential neighborhood. Officials in Auburn contend that this is a violation of a 1998 city ordinance that specifies where sexually oriented businesses may operate.

Douglas Klang, director of real estate for Family Video, has said he doesn't believe the store fits the city code's definition of a sexually oriented business. Klang noted that Family Video has a separate, age-restricted area for adult videos and that this section only makes up a small percentage of the store's operation, and as such does not meet the city's definition of a sexually oriented business.

Arguments on the case were shifted to April on the first day of court, in order to allow the store to have its lawyer appear in court and to allow city judge Michael McKeon to recuse himself.

McKeon and one of the city's attorneys were allegedly involved in writing the city's ordinance, or planning board hearings for approval of the store.

Auburn's city manager Mark Palesh has been quoted as being outraged by Family Video's name alone. "The [store name] is a trap for families. My family's never going to go there again," he told the Syracuse Post-Standard.

Both parties will be back in court on April 11.