Burning Man files two motions in ruling on private settlement with Pershing County

San Francisco, February 4, 2014 — Burning Man has filed two motions in the U.S District Court in Reno, Nevada seeking to modify a ruling relating to a private settlement between Burning Man and Pershing County.

Burning Man and Pershing County agreed to this settlement in November 2013 on all issues of a lawsuit brought by Burning Man in 2012. The settlement resulted in a 10-year agreement between event organizers and Pershing County officials designed to cover all of the county’s costs and impacts related to the event, while preserving participant activities protected by the First Amendment.

The agreement is based on integration of operations of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management’s law enforcement command.

The judge overseeing the settlement filed a ruling in January calling into question the validity of the agreement. Burning Man has filed two motions providing the court with additional information and is seeking to modify the ruling to recognize the validity of the 10-year agreement.

 

Burning Man settles lawsuit with Pershing County, NV

November 12, 2013
Contact: Megan Miller, Black Rock City, LLC
415-865-3800
press@burningman.com

BURNING MAN SETTLES LAWSUIT WITH PERSHING COUNTY, NEV.
Parties Await Approval from Federal District Court

San Francisco, CA. – Black Rock City, LLC and Pershing County have reached a settlement of all issues of the lawsuit brought by BRC last year. Associated court documents were filed in U.S. District Court in Reno, Nevada last week. The parties are now waiting for the federal district to approve the settlement in a hearing scheduled for this coming Monday, November 18th.

“This is a very favorable outcome for all parties,” said Raymond Allen, Government Affairs Representative for BRC. “The terms address all of BRC’s and the County’s concerns.”

The settlement agreement spans ten years and is designed to cover all of Pershing County’s costs and impacts related to the Burning Man event, while also preserving participant freedoms protected by the First Amendment. The agreement is based on integration of operations of the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Land Management’s (“BLM”) law enforcement command.

The cost structure is based on a schedule that accounts for population changes and inflation. If the agreement had been in place for the 2013 event, the payment to Pershing County would have been $240,000. It is too soon in the planning cycle to know precisely what the cost will be for 2014, but BRC expects the cost to be in a similar range in future years.

2013 was the first year that BLM and the Pershing County Sheriff’s Office integrated their command structures. “We are grateful to both BLM and the County for making integration happen this year. It led to a successful and safe event, and to a full resolution of the lawsuit between BRC and the County,” said Allen.

The settlement is great news for our participants and our community,” added Marian Goodell, BRC’s Director of Business and Communications. “The resolution of the suit bodes well for the sustainability of Burning Man. The settlement ensures our ability to operate our annual event in the Black Rock Desert in the future.”

The settlement agreement incorporates all of the terms of the county’s opt-out provisions made possible by the Nevada State Legislature earlier this year.

The lawsuit was originally filed in August 2012 after the County applied its festival ordinance to BRC and voided prior settlement agreements with BRC.

The Burning Man event has been held in the Black Rock Desert for more than 20 years and is a keystone contributor to the economy of northern Nevada. There are no vendors at the event; the only goods sold are coffee and ice, the proceeds of which go to local charities. The event accounts for more traffic to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport annually than any other, and participants spend at least $35 million in the area before, during and after the event.

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About Burning Man:
For 23 years, the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nev., has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man arts event. Started on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, the event now attracts more than 60,000 participants annually, from every U.S. state and 22 countries. For more information, visit http://www.burningman.com. For media inquiries, please call 415-865-3800.

Black Rock City, LLC v. Pershing County

San Francisco, April 29, 2013

U.S. District Judge Denies Pershing County Attempt to Block Burning Man Lawsuit

U.S. District Judge Robert C. Jones issued an order Friday denying Pershing County’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Black Rock City, LLC challenging the County’s unconstitutional festival permitting process.

Burning Man organizers sued Pershing County in August 2012 after the County breached a series of agreements it had previously entered into with Black Rock City, LLC, and enacted an unconstitutional ordinance that singles out the Burning Man event.

“The ordinance is nothing more than the county’s thinly veiled attempt to exact more fees or drive the internationally-renowned art event out of Nevada,” said Raymond Allen, Government Relations Manager for Black Rock City, LLC.  “Both actions are violations of the First Amendment.”

The Pershing County ordinance increased the costs Black Rock City, LLC had to pay from around $180,000 in 2011 to over $600,000 in 2013.

Black Rock City, LLC is also pursuing action in the State Legislature to clarify a vague and outdated state statute that the county relied on when it enacted the local ordinance in question. The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman David Bobzien, models the state statute on the Washoe and Storey County ordinances by exempting federal land.

The Nevada Assembly overwhelmingly passed  the bill, AB374, on April 23. The Senate Government Affairs Committee  will take up the bill May 8.

“The judge’s ruling is a major victory for Burning Man,” said Terry Gross, General Counsel for Black Rock City, LLC. “The county attempted to dismiss the entire case, and the court denied that as to all critical claims. The only claim that was completely denied by the Court was for preemption, and we plan to appeal that decision at the appropriate time.”

Burning Man brings in over $30 million for businesses in Northern Nevada each year as participants travel from all fifty states and numerous countries worldwide to attend the Burning Man event.

For 22 years, the Black Rock Desert outside Reno, Nev., has been home to the increasingly popular and influential Burning Man arts event. Started on a beach in San Francisco in 1986, Burning Man now attracts 68,000 participants annually, from every U.S. state and 22 countries. For more information about the lawsuit please see brcvpc.com.  For media inquiries, please call 415.865.3600.