CocoDorm Case to Be Appealed, Flava Works CEO Says
ATLANTA — Flava Works, which has been in a long-run legal battle with the city of Miami over zoning issues while shooting CocoDorm, plans on appealing a federal judge's ruling last month that granted summary judgment in favor of the city, XBIZ has learned.
Flava Works CEO Phillip Bleicher told XBIZ that his company has all along complied with zoning ordinances at the CocoDorm, which is streamed at CocoDorm.com.
"While defending our case the city of Miami changed the rules of the game by amending their zoning ordinance," he said. "We were perfectly in compliance and we will file an appeal over this unjust bigotry."
Flava Works had sued the city after it was found to be in violation of two city zoning ordinances when it streamed online shows from a Miami home where gay male models lived.
The models residing at the CocoDorm were independent contractors of FlavaWorks and, in exchange for $1,200 per month plus free room and board, were expected to engage in sex captured by the webcams located throughout the house.
At any given time, there were three to seven models at the house.
The long-running case ended up at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and later was sent back to U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Cooke to weigh constitutional claims.
Cooke earlier cited an 11th Circuit opinion from 2001 that found homes broadcasting online sex were not adult businesses because their product is on cyberspace, but the city of Miami appealed and won.
FlavaWorks contended its business premises were across town from the home, but the company lost its argument that CocoDorm could not be considered a business because it did not manufacturer a product at the location. That appeals court ruling decided that video images sold over the web were created at the residence and had commercial value.
In the most recent ruling, Cooke denied all of the charges in Flava Works's suit, determining that some of the counts were moot or dismissed because Miami had changed anti-adult language in ordinances and that the ordinances were narrowly tailored.
Cooke also ruled that the city has a legitimate interest in separating business activities from residential areas for the health and safety of its citizens and that federal courts don't sit as zoning boards of review.
"An Internet-based business still relies on employees who may have to drive, and park, at some workplace area; an Internet-based business that ships items may create increased traffic in and around the workplace area, or safety concerns in a building that becomes routinely visited by couriers," Cooke wrote.