A three-day art, music, culinary, and learning festival called “Life is Beautiful” was scheduled to be held in downtown Las Vegas on the weekend of September 25–27, 2015. Plaintiff Amistad Christiana Church alleged that the resulting crowds, road closings, and concert noise would unconstitutionally interfere with its ability to hold weekend services. It sued Life is Beautiful, LLC and the City of Las Vegas, which issued the special-use permits that allowed the festival to operate, seeking an injunction barring Life is Beautiful from holding performances on two specific stages while church services are being held. Alternatively, Amistad requested that defendants put in “mature noise buffers” to prevent the music from its stages from drowning out Amistad’s services or provide a similar solution.
A private entity like Life as Beautiful can be subject to liability under § 1983 if there is such a close nexus between the State and the challenged action that seemingly private behavior may be fairly treated as that of the State itself. Here, however, there were no facts in the complaint alleging that state officials dominated Life is Beautiful’s decision making, that its funds were generated by state institutions, or that it was acting in lieu of a traditional state actor. Amistad’s § 1983 claim against the City was likewise defective because the City had taken no action to prohibit, regulate, or coerce Amistad’s religious beliefs or practices.
For its private nuisance claim, Amistad was required to allege that the interference caused by the festival was both substantial and unreasonable. Because the festival was a temporary event in a location frequently used for festivals there was no evidence that the festival would fundamentally “change the character” of the neighborhood. Furthermore, since there were no facts in Amistad’s complaint to support a finding of bad faith, the court also dismissed Amistad’s nuisance claim against the City. Because all of these aforementioned claims failed, the court denied Amistad’s motion for a preliminary injunction due to the unlikelihood of success on the merits.
Amistad Christiana Church v Life is Beautiful, LLC, 2015 WL 5532299 (D. NE 9/18/2015)