City, Truth Lounge attorneys agree to dismiss initial court case

Published 10:51 am Tuesday, November 21, 2023

NATCHEZ — City of Natchez Attorney Bryan Callaway told Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Carmen Drake this morning that the city and attorneys for Truth Lounge owners have agreed on terms to dismiss legal action against the closing of the lounge.

Truth Lounge attorneys Terris Harris and Jeffrey Graves of The Cochran Law Firm of Jackson confirmed for Drake they had agreed to the dismissal.

Callaway said the city will not seek to enforce an Oct. 14 order to close the lounge as long as Truth Lounge owners Rickey Banks and David Haywood provide security. The exact terms of the security to be provided were not specified.

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On Oct. 14 in a special called meeting, the city’s aldermen and mayor voted to close the Truth Lounge after a fight inside it and an unruly crowd outside threatened to overwhelm police.

On Oct. 19, Sixth District Circuit Court Judge Debra Blackwell signed a restraining order leading the way for Truth Lounge to reopen, pending a hearing that was set for Tuesday morning, Nov. 21.

Moments before Tuesday’s hearing began, attorneys for both sides and told Drake they had agreed to dismiss the suit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be revisited.

After the hearing, Truth Lounge attorneys said its owners are no longer obligated to close at 1 a.m., which was a stipulation in Blackwell’s restraining order. Graves said the only stipulation placed on the business is providing security.

In a separate lawsuit, Truth Lounge owners have filed a lawsuit against Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson and 15 unnamed defendants, alleging wrongdoing against their business. Graves said that lawsuit is unaffected by today’s dismissal of their original action against the city.