Posted by: Patricia Salkin | August 7, 2019

Fed. Dist. Court in NY Denies Request for Preliminary Injunction Regarding Sign Law Ordinance as Moot

This post was authored by Matthew Loeser, Esq.

Plaintiff, a candidate for Family Court Judge of Herkimer County, erected two political signs on her property located at the corner of Mary Street and North Washington Street in the Village of Herkimer. The signs were placed on a fence and read, “Elect Mary Iocovozzi Family Court Judge”. Following this, plaintiff received a telephone call from defendant David Kuehnle, the Codes Enforcement Officer for the Village of Herkimer, advising that the signs were in violation of a local zoning ordinance, specifically, Section 7 of Local Law No. 1 of 2009. Defendant directed plaintiff to remove the signs. Plaintiff told defendant that the law appeared unconstitutional and further advised that she contacted the Village Attorney with regard to the constitutional issues. Plaintiff then received a directive from defendant requesting that plaintiff remove her signs and replace them with proper sized signs. As a result, plaintiff removed her signs for fear of being penalized or having her signs confiscated, and made a motion for a preliminary injunction restraining defendants from enforcing the local law which regulated her signs in the Village of Herkimer.

The testimony of Mayor Ainsworth reflected that the Village suspended enforcement of the law and further set forth that, the Village would repeal and reevaluate the sign law to assure compliance with constitutional standards, and has commenced drafting a Local Law repealing Section 7 of the Sign Ordinance. Thus, there was no evidence before the court that defendants had any intention of re-instating the law, or that it would be reinstated without first presenting plaintiff with an opportunity to be heard. Accordingly, plaintiff’s request for an injunction was denied as moot.

Iocovozzi v. Village of Herkimer, 2010 WL 11681613 (NDNY 7/13/2019)

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