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Three More Utah Cities Sued by Kirby Vacuum Distributors

Three More Utah Cities Sued by Kirby Vacuum Distributors

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Kirby vacuum-cleaner distributors suing Fruit Heights and Draper over their regulation of door-to-door sales have added Centerville, Cedar City and St. George to their federal-court lawsuit.

The actions filed by attorney Craig Taylor of Kaysville allege the cities violated constitutional speech, due process and equal access guarantees.

The plaintiffs are Pacific Frontier Inc., J&L Distributing, Kirby of Utah and Idaho, Pro Club 100 Percent, GPIII Inc. and Geneva Distributing Inc..

Statutes in Centerville, Cedar City and St. George require door-to-door commercial sales representatives to obtain a license, but exempt youth, religious, charitable, political and farm representatives from the licensing requirements, the distributors allege.

Steve Thacker, city manager for Centerville, said Friday that his city is being sued apparently because a Kirby solicitor was denied a license in June.

"Door-to-door sales are allowed; they just have to get a permit to do so," he said. He said the solicitor submitted an incomplete license application and did not respond to a request for further information.

Cedar City Mayor Gerald Sherratt defended licensing requirements as "leveling the playing field.

"Door-to-door salesmen compete with other businesses in the community," he said. "It is not fair if they don't have to pay a license fee just like someone who maintains a building locally and pays sales and property taxes."

According to the suits, Centerville charges solicitors $140 for its 180-day license and also requires a $1,000 performance bond. The suits say Cedar City charges licensing fees and requires criminal background checks, references and a surety bond.

They say St. George charges a $50 license fee, with exemptions for businesses with less than $3,000 in annual gross sales, and can require bonds of up to $20,000, along with extensive criminal background checks.

Taylor contends that by targeting only commercial residential sales, the statutes fail to provide equal protection under the law.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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