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A controversial ban on smoking throughout the City of Sheffield is heating up after the city got an intent to sue notice over the ban.
The smoking ban makes it illegal for anyone to smoke within the Sheffield city limits.
Sheffield attorney, Bennett Pugh, represents Joseph Mitchum. Pugh said prior to the smoking ban being passed, Mitchum bought a building on East 2nd Street in Sheffield with the plans of opening a cigar shop.
"He was prevented from opening the business he had a vision to open," said Pugh. "He bought the building. He paid thousands to an architect to build out the facility. Then, they hit him with the smoking ban."
Pugh told WAAY 31 he sent a notice letter to the City of Sheffield threatening a lawsuit over the smoking ban, because he says his client wasn't able to open his cigar shop. Prior to the smoking ban being passed, Pugh said his client was assured by two city council members his plans could move forward, but that wasn't the case. Now, Pugh is asking for the city to pay his client $50,000 in damages.
"In my demand letter to the city demanding a reimbursement of $50,000, which would include his expenses, or they have an alternative, repeal this smoking ban," said Pugh.
Pugh said if they don't repeal the ban, he will file a lawsuit in 15 days. The city said it cannot comment on pending litigation. Many people in Sheffield don't support the smoking ban already.
"I think the smoking ban is kind of a silly thing," said a Sheffield resident, Jeffrey Manset. "We're not in a city where we have the luxury of a smoking ban. I think we're limiting ourselves with stuff like that. I think that guy had all the right in the world to open that cigar shop."
Pugh said he and Mitchum will be at the Sheffield city council meeting on Monday to address city council members. It's unclear if the city council could vote to repeal the smoking ban on Monday. We are waiting for the agenda to be posted.