Major Victory for Plaintiffs, Michael Shaw and Citizens for Free Speech!
In a major victory for Michael Shaw and Citizens for Free Speech, the U.S. District Court (Northern District of California) has granted an injunction against Alameda County in respect to Citizens for Free Speech’s six billboards erected in 2014 along I-580 between Hayward and Pleasanton. The Court ruled that the County’s zoning ordinance is facially unconstitutional and that their provisions cannot be used to regulate the speech of anyone in the unincorporated areas of the County. Read Final Ruling here: Order for Summary Judgment and Judgment.
When the billboards originally went up on June 3, 2014, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was awarded by the District Court which precluded the County from taking any adverse action. The Court granted the preliminary injunction stating, “The Zoning Ordinance Gives Officials Too Much Discretion in Approving or Disapproving Signs Based on Their Content.”
The County’s tyranny of over-regulation is significantly lessened as a result of this ground breaking ruling.
Alameda County Defies Federal Court Ruling!
For the last 2 ½ years, numerous Federal Court hearings were conducted regarding the I-580 billboards. In 2017, the Federal Court issued a final ruling in favor of Citizens for Free Speech. Rather than abide by the final ruling and law, Alameda County is blatantly defying the court order and has sought to remove the signs, even though it had not brought a counterclaim against Citizens in the 2014 action. Citizens therefore brought a new action in Federal Court contending that the County is barred from seeking to now remove the signs on the grounds of res judicata. The Court in the new action determined that res judicata did not apply. That ruling is being appealed to the Ninth Circuit and an amended complaint has also been filed. Resolution of the case is expected within the next six months.
Alameda County Makes U-Turn?
Citizens for Free Speech has filed a second case with the Federal Court objecting to Alameda County’s defiance of the Court Order. An initial court date is now set for April 11, 2018. The County has backed down from their original BZA (Board of Zoning Adjustments) Hearing date of February 15th. [Read Alameda County Notice here.]
Read the Court Documents here:
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California:
- Citizens for Free Speech Complaint – filed 2/7/2018
- Citizens for Free Speech Motion for Preliminary Injunction – filed 3/7/2018
- County of Alameda Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction – filed 3/21/2018
- County of Alameda Request for Judicial Notice – filed 3/21/2018
- Declaration of County of Alameda’s Attorney – filed 3/21/2018
- Citizens for Free Speech Reply Brief in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction – filed 3/28/2018
- Court Order Vacating 4/11/2018 Hearing – 4/5/2018
- Court Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction – filed 5/9/2018
- County of Alameda Motion to Dismiss – filed 5/24/2018
- Citizens for Free Speech First Amended Complaint – filed 6/7/2018
- County of Alameda Reply Brief – filed 6/11/2018
- County of Alameda Motion to Dismiss First Amended Complaint – filed 6/21/2018
- Citizens for Free Speech Response to Request for Fees – filed 6/26/2018
- Citizens for Free Speech Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss – 7/9/2018
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals:
- Citizens for Free Speech Opening Brief – 6/26/2018
- County of Alameda Brief – filed 7/24/2018
- County of Alameda Motion to Supplement the Record for Judicial Notice – filed 7/24/2018
- Citizens for Free Speech Reply Brief – filed 8/14/2018
Pictures of I-580 Billboards
Click on any image below to see the full-size.
Read the Press Releases here:
- Major Billboard Protest Exposes One Bay Area Plan (June 3, 2014)
- County Of Alameda Succumbs To Billboard Temporary Restraining Order (June 23, 1014)
- Citizens for Free Speech Granted Injunction Against Alameda County as I-580 Billboards are Protected by Federal Court (August 5, 2014)
Read the Billboard Court Documents here:
- Judgment – filed 3/8/2017
- Final Ruling/Order by Federal Court – filed 7/8/2016
- Preliminary Injunction – filed 9/04/2014
- Order Granting Motion for Preliminary Injunction – filed 8/05/2014
- Stipulation and Order Granting Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) – filed 6/16/2014
Alameda County: I-580 Political Signs Spark Free Speech Fight
In October 2014, Michael Shaw was interviewed by Matt O’Brien, a reporter with the Bay Area News Group, regarding the billboards along I-580 in Alameda County, CA. The article was published in print form in the Oakland Tribune and appears in several online news publications including the Contra Costa Times, Inside Bay Area, and the San Jose Mercury News.
CASTRO VALLEY — Property rights activist Michael Shaw says the freeway billboards he erected this summer are a warning against a global government plot to abolish private property and crowd Americans into dense housing.
Alameda County says the unauthorized signs are “an assault on (the) visual senses” of Interstate 580 commuters. It wants them removed.
The two sides are now locked in a legal battle. So far, Shaw is winning.
Read the full article here.