Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 11, 2015

Fed. Dist. Court in NY Denies Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction Against Enforcement of a Sign Ordinance

Plaintiff, candidate for the position of Town Board member in the Town of Warrensburg, received an email from Christopher Belden, the Code Enforcement Officer for the Town, which informed Plaintiff that Town Zoning Ordinance § 211.33(B)(1) prohibits signs from being placed within the public right-of-way. The email stated that notice was being given to all candidates who were displaying political signs within the public right-of-way. Despite this, Plaintiff sought to enjoin Defendant from enforcing the ordinance prior to the November 3 general election, contending that Defendant selectively enforced the ordinance against him based on his political affiliation. Defendant agreed to discontinue its enforcement of the ordinance until after the November 3 election, and began to replace the taken down signs. However, four of Plaintiff’s signs were still allegedly missing.

Here, even though Plaintiff alleged that enforcement of the ordinance violates his First Amendment right, he failed to establish that without a temporary restraining order he would suffer “an injury that is neither remote nor speculative, but actual and imminent.” Defendant stipulated that it will not enforce the ordinance until after the November 3 election, and claims to have returned any of Plaintiffs signs that were temporarily removed. Additionally, Plaintiff also failed to show the likelihood of success on the merits since he did not present any evidence of how the ordinance was selectively enforced against him based on his political affiliation. Plaintiff’s motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was therefore denied.

Mahar v Town of Warrensburg, 2015 WL 6671335 (NDNY 10/30/2015)


Responses

  1. Because Plaintiff did not show any evidence of how the ordinance was selectively enforced against him based on his political affiliation, it seems proper to deny his motion. What other ways did Plaintiff advertise for his campaign? Has anyone of a different political party attempted to use this advertising technique in the past, thereby influencing this town ordinance’s implementation?


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