Arizona San Tan Flat

Dale Bell v. Pinal County Board of Supervisors
Challenging Pinal County's Dancing Prohibition

Dale Bell just wanted to run his family business with his son, but Pinal County’s ridiculous obsession with dancing stood in the way of his American Dream.

Dale and his son Spencer opened San Tan Flat, a popular Country & Western restaurant, in Pinal County, Arizona in 2005.  Shortly thereafter, County officials dusted off an obscure ban on outdoor dancing in what appears to be a blatant attempt to drive Dale out of business.  Saying customers can sway to the family-friendly entertainment provided on weekends, but not move their feet, is rightfully making Pinal County a national laughingstock.  Threatening Dale with over two hundred thousand dollars in fines and forcing him to be the dance police, the County became a poster child of outrageous government abuse.

The Constitution protects Dale’s right to earn an honest living free from unreasonable government regulation and the Institute for Justice successfully asked the courts to protect these rights.


Essential Background


Background: Footloose 2007? Local Entrepreneur & Institute for Justice Challenge Dance Ban in Pinal County, Ariz.

Client Photo

Client Video - video

Video - The Saga of San Tan Flat

Interview with IJ Client Dale Bell

Latest Release: Dance Ban is Dead; Two-Year Dance Ban Saga Ends in Victory For Two-Steppers in Pinal County, Ariz. (August 25, 2008)

No Dancing at San Tan Flats; FOX NEWS (February 16, 2007)

Video - Song Performed by Lee Alexander

Video - Song Performed by Nathan Dean

Launch Release: IJ Tangos with Arizona Dance Ban; Pinal County Wants San Tan Flat Restaurant Owners to be Dance Police (March 8, 2007)

Client Audio - KFNX 1100, Charles Goyette Show Interview

Legal Briefs and Decisions

Download: Judge's Final Decision

Case Timeline

Filed Lawsuit:


June 6: Filed Complaint, and motions requesting stay of fines and jury trial

Court Filed:


Pinal County Superior Court



July 22, 2008: Trial court ruling striking down dance ban



Completed: Victory

Additional Releases

Maps, Charts and Facts

Release: Institute for Justice Defeats Absurd AZ Dance Ban (May 1, 2008) Quotes: Absurdity in the Pinal County Hearing Office
Release: National Celebrity Tangos With Absurd Dance Ban: Actor Drew Carey Uses Video to Champion Small Business, Challenge Big Government Run Amok
(January 23, 2008)

Release: Judge Says People Can Dance at San Tan Flat; Trial Court Grants San Tan Flats Request for Stay of Daily Fines (October 9, 2007)


Release: Institute for Justice Appeals Dance Ban Ruling (June 6, 2007)




Op-eds, News Articles and Links

Release: County Upholds Dance Ban, San Tan Flat & Institute for Justice To Appeal (May 2, 2007)

Video: San Tan Flat & The Fight Against Arbitrary Government Power; (November 21, 2008)

Article: A Time to Dance! Liberty & Law, (June 2008)

Article: No Fine(r) Time To Dance; Liberty & Law, (December 2007)

Article: Dance Gestapo, Phoenix News Times, (September 13, 2007)

Release: County Hears Dance Ban Appeal; Pinal County Board of Supervisors to Decide Whether They Will Force Restaurant Owners Into Acting As Dance Police (May 2, 2007)

Article: Grassroots Tyranny at San Tan Flat, Liberty & Law, (June, 2007)

Article: Dance fines could shut down Pinal restaurant, East Valley Tribune, (May 16, 2007)

Op-ed: Institute for Justice will stand behind San Tan Flat, Arizona Republic, (March 15, 2007)

Article: Institute for Justice could help San Tan Flat owner kick up his heels in glee, Arizona Republic, (March 7, 2007)

Article: Institute takes San Tan Flat case, Arizona Republic, (February 28, 2007)

Article: Civil liberties firm backs restaurateur fined for letting patrons dance, East Valley Tribune, (February 24, 2007)

Editorial: Pinal County prohibition on outdoor dancing is as ridiculous as it is out of date, East Valley Tribune, (January 19, 2007)

Article: Dancing around the truth: It’s a farce, East Valley Tribune, (January 18, 2007)

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