‘Heaven’ Ordered to Close by S.F. Superior Court

Notorious North Beach Strip Club, Alleged Prostitution Venue is Ordered to Immediately Shut Down

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 19, 2009) — Superior Court Judge Charlotte Walter Woolard this morning granted City Attorney Dennis Herrera’s motion to shutter a notorious North Beach strip club that has operated for more than a year in defiance of repeated notices of violation, cease and desist orders, and police citations for prostitution. In issuing the preliminary injunction to immediately close the illicit enterprise, Judge Woolard found that Herrera’s motion established sufficient probability that the City would prevail on the merits of its cross-complaint against Heaven Mini Theatre at 1054 Kearny Street. The court additionally held that Heaven failed to demonstrate that it would suffer irreparable harm if the injunction were granted.

“Today’s ruling should send a message to other would-be operators of illegal businesses that even ‘Heaven’ is subject to temporal laws here in San Francisco,” said Herrera. “I’m grateful to Judge Woolard for her thorough analysis of the facts, and to the Police and Planning Departments for their efforts to enforce the law and help us build our case. It’s regrettable that this business chose to expend so much effort to flout the law rather than to follow it, and that a preliminary injunction was necessary to shut it down.”

Herrera’s successful motion today represented a procedural counter-attack in a case that improbably originated with Heaven’s lawsuit against the City for allegedly violating the illicit venue’s constitutional rights by attempting to enforce state and local laws. Heaven’s operators stubbornly persisted in their lawless enterprise despite being lawfully served with a Cease and Desist Order by the San Francisco Planning Department, despite reports of prostitution from the Police Department, and despite repeated warnings by the City Attorney’s Office. Heaven’s constitutional claims remain to be adjudicated. The case is 1054 Kearny, LLC, DBA Heaven Mini Theatre v. City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC 08 479-624, filed Sept. 9, 2008.