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May 22, 2015

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Poetry nightclub discrimination lawsuit moves forward

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Poetry nightclub, shown in this file photo, was inside the Forum Shops at Caesars above Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois restaurant.

Beyond the Sun

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Since August 2007, the gate that separates the Forum Shops from Caesars Palace's casino floor has been shut on the days Poetry operates. Poetry guests must enter through a side door and walk down a "littered service hallway," Poetry owner Mike Goodwin said.

A federal judge on Thursday decided to allow Wolfgang Puck’s Chinois restaurant and the Poetry nightclub to move forward with their discrimination lawsuit against Caesars Palace and Simon Property Group.

The lawsuit accuses Caesars Palace and Simon Property Group of unfairly blocking the entrance to Poetry, which is leased through Chinois, because it attracts a majority-black clientele. Simon Property Group operates the Forum Shops where Poetry is located.

U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan said Thursday he will hear Poetry nightclub's discrimination claims against its landlords.

Since August 2007, the gate that separates the Forum Shops from Caesars Palace’s casino floor has been shut on the days Poetry operates. Poetry guests must enter through a side door and walk down a “littered service hallway,” Poetry owner Mike Goodwin said in a statement.

Goodwin alleges in the lawsuit that Simon chief executive officer David Simon began this battle.

In October 2007, Simon-owned Forum Shops LLC filed suit against Phase II Chin, the company that owns and operates restaurant Chinois, who Goodwin partnered with to open OPM, which is now called Poetry. That lawsuit alleged that Chinois subleased the space and misrepresented the nature of the club it intended to open.

Goodwin and Chinois fired back in January 2008 against Simon Property Group and Caesars Palace alleging Simon always knew the nature of OPM and that the landlords “seek to force OPM [now Poetry] out of business because … it attracts ‘too many’ African-Americans, to the Forum Shops and the Caesars Palace complex generally.”

The suit continues on to say that the Forum Shops’ common areas are to “remain open to the public 24 hours per day, 7 days per week,” though the mall closes at 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight Friday and Saturday.

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