Editor’s note: This post originally appeared in the Rocky Mountain Sign Law Blog at: http://www.rockymountainsignlaw.com/2016/09/federal-court-finds-new-york-villages-sign-code-content-based
A federal magistrate judge in New York recommended invalidating yet another sign code as content based in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In February 2015, a resident of the Village of Perry, New York, Carolyn Grieve, posted signs complaining about the village’s spending policies. Grieve received a notice of violation from the village. In April 2015, Grieve filed suit against the village, alleging that the sign code was content based and an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech, and that the village had engaged in selective enforcement of the code against her. Because the village code allowed the display of several types of commercial signs without a permit while requiring permits for the display of noncommercial signs, the magistrate judge found the sign code to be content based. As the village offered no rationale to support its code provisions, the magistrate found that the village failed strict scrutiny review, and recommended summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff.
Grieve v. Vill. of Perry, 2016 WL 4491713 (W.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2016).