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Hayward taxpayers to pay $628K in damages over late night music lawsuit

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Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Brass Milled Gavel By walknboston (Flickr: Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

HAYWARD, WI (WTAQ) - Taxpayers in Hayward will give $628,000 to a musician who had to fight for her right to put on late-night music in that northwest Wisconsin city.

Molly Otis took the city to court, after her Pavilion music hall prompted an ordinance which banned outdoor live or recorded music after 10 p.m.

She won her case in federal court, but Hayward officials made an effort to throw out the damages and legal fees she won.

Otis said the city’s insurance company stepped in, and the two sides reached a settlement. She’s getting $401,000, and three lawyers – including one whom she married last fall – are splitting the rest.

Otis tells the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she hopes her case will, “send a strong message to public officials about the importance of music as protected expression under the U.S. Constitution.”

The 54-year-old Otis opened her music venue after a country music recording career in Nashville. Her group Molly and the Heymakers had a Top 50 song in 1991 with “Chasing Something Called Love.” 

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