Amelia Powell (left), who has worked as a bikini barista, and Derek Newman, (right), who has been representing the Everett baristas in their federal civil rights lawsuit, seen here in November 2017 in Seattle. Newman in May 2018 began seeking to leave the case. Rikki King / The Herald

Appeals court sides with Washington State city in ‘bikini baristas’ case

Federal appeals court said wearing skimpy attire to sell espresso does not constitute free speech

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of the City of Everett in Washington State in a lawsuit filed by a group of “bikini baristas.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday overturned a lower court judge’s decision to block the city of Everett from imposing a dress-code on the scantily clad coffee servers.

The three-judge appeals panel said wearing skimpy attire, sometimes just pasties and a G-string, to sell espresso at drive-through coffee stands does not constitute free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Seven baristas and the owner of a chain of the coffee stands called “Hillbilly Hotties” sued in 2017 to block the dress code, and U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman in Seattle agreed with them.

The panel overturned Pechman’s order. Hillbilly Hotties owner Jovanna Edge has said she will appeal.

READ MORE: Judge critical of both sides’ arguments in Everett bikini barista case

Said the City of Everett in a statement Wednesday afternoon: “The city is grateful for the Ninth Circuit’s careful and thorough consideration of this case. The court’s opinion recognized the significant issues that the City has faced and the practical reality of regulating these businesses.”

– with a file from Stephanie Davey with Black Press Media

The Associated Press

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