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Friday, May 29, 2015

Court Rejects Village's Defense of Commercial Sign Code

From our friends at the Law of the Land Blog: Fed District Court in IL Denies Motion to Dismiss Claim Challenging Sign Ordinance's Content-Based Restrictions

10 years ago, the Village of Downers Grove amended its sign regulations that relate to commercial signage. The owner of a storage and van company sued the Village in federal court, alleging that the new regulations violated his free speech rights under the First Amendment.  Specifically, he said the new regulations would negatively impact his ability to advertise his business, including making several of his large existing signs illegal. 

The village filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the owner did not have standing to bring a facial challenge to the constitutionality of the entire sign code.  The village also argued that the sign regulations were proper "time, place, and manner restrictions."  The court disagreed with the Village on both arguments, and denied its motion to dismiss.  First, the court noted that the case involved an "as-applied" not facial challenge to the constitutionality of the commercial sign regulations.  Second, the court said that because the Village distinguished between commercial and non-commercial signs, the regulations were content-based, and the village's justifications for the ordinance were not sufficient.  Peterson v Village of Downers Grove, 2015 WL 1929737 (ND Ill. 4/27/2015)

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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