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Federal judge throws out tavern owners' civil rights lawsuit against Racine

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit from 8 tavern owners in Racine, who accused the city of conspiring to drive them out of business.

Milwaukee Judge J.P. Stadtmueller said the complaint was "virtually functionless," since he couldn't tell who was "claiming what against whom."

The judge gave the tavern owners a chance to re-file their lawsuit, and be more precise about their allegations. He said the general claims were not without merit. In fact, Stadtmueller said the allegations "suggest a case with serious potential that should proceed."

The plaintiffs alleged that their civil rights were violated, as the city of Racine allegedly conspired to drive minority-owned bars of business since 2006, and penalizing white-owned bars with large numbers of minority customers.

Current and former Racine mayors were listed as defendants along with other officials, Racine's tavern league, and two business groups.

The suit alleged that the city kept minorities from getting or renewing city licenses, and rewarding white Tavern League members with the surrendered liquor licenses or city government jobs.

Stadtmueller said the plaintiffs have voluntary dropped some allegations against certain defendants. He called it a "vague" effort to scale back their complaint.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)

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