Kill Devil Hills, NC; June 7, 2022: Ami Hill, owner of #Bus252, a mobile art gallery, and the Muse Markets, which feature local artists and artisans selling their wares, filed a lawsuit challenging a town ordinance that requires itinerant vendors to donate 100% of their profits to charity in exchange for the right to sell during the high tourism season (May 1 to September 30). Alternatively, vendors can request a permit to operate from the Board of Commissioners, but they must undergo an arbitrary and unduly burdensome process each time they want to sell. This puts itinerant vendors between a proverbial rock and a hard place.

To add insult to injury, the town has created a First Flight Market, which features local artists—itinerant vendors—in direct competition with Hill’s Muse Market. The only difference is that the town-sponsored vendors can sell year-round and keep their profits. The town also rejected #Bus252’s application to participate in First Flight Market.

“The town cannot condition an itinerant vendor’s right to earn a living on surrendering profits or going to the Board of Commissioners for permission each time they want to sell,” said Pacific Legal Foundation attorney Donna Matias. “Ami and business owners like her have a right to the fruits of their labor under the North Carolina Constitution.”

The case is Ami Hill and Muse Originals LLC v. Town of Kill Devil Hills et al., filed in the General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division of Dare County, North Carolina.

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Pacific Legal Foundation is a national nonprofit legal organization that defends Americans threatened by government overreach and abuse. Since our founding in 1973, we challenge the government when it violates individual liberty and constitutional rights. With active cases in 34 states plus Washington, D.C., PLF represents clients in state and federal courts, with 14 victories out of 16 cases litigated at the U.S. Supreme Court.

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