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 City sued over billboard removal
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Randy
SFN Regular

USA
1989 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2008 :  10:48:08  Show Profile Send Randy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
As mentioned in the linked article, I think the main culprit here is the city government sticking its big fat nose in where it doesn't belong.


"A group that promotes separation of church and state filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the city of Rancho Cucamonga after a billboard on Route 66 that read "Imagine No Religion" was taken down and destroyed.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing the city because it says Redevelopment Director Linda Daniels, who is also named in the suit, contacted the billboard company telling it of the numerous complaints the city had received regarding the billboard and asked if the company could do anything."

Read on....

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-billboard29-2008nov29,0,4177096.story

"We are all connected; to each other biologically, to the earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically."

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Hittman
Skeptic Friend

134 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2008 :  17:40:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hittman's Homepage Send Hittman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
An acquaintance wrote to the city and asked about it, and got a very polite reply saying they had absolutely nothing to do with it. I wrote to the sign company, and so have several other people. They refuse to answer.
The reporter says her story is accurate.

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2008 :  23:19:26   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is going to be a loser for the FFRF, I think. Without suing the billboard company, I doubt there's going to be much of a discoverable paper trail. Unless the city staffers were dumb enough to use email or issue a memo regarding the complaints. I bet it was all done face-to-face and via interoffice telephone, if it wasn't one rogue city employee making the call to the billboard company on her own. Nothing discoverable means no way to demonstrate intent, and thus a failed lawsuit.

This is why, for example, "cdesign proponentsists" was so important to the Dover trial.

Has they sued the billboard company, they would have been able to break their silence, and undoubtedly gotten their hands on the actual work orders to rip down the billboard, or otherwise found hints at the reason the company was willing to violate the contract.

Then again, with the one billboard company I've seen in action - on the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" show - the president of the company was on-site during an installation to ensure everything went okay, which meant the company consisted of little more than the president and probably a bunch of part-time workmen, and maybe a receptionist. Those sorts of tiny operations don't need work orders or a whole lot of paperwork to get things like this done.

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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2008 :  09:50:37   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sincerely, why sue?
The FFRF should get its money back and try to pay for another company...

If the problem occurs again, then it will be proof of a pattern worth investigating if somebody is using his position in City Hall to stifle free speech.
And, yes, suing the billboard company may be a way to discover that...

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2008 :  14:53:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The billboard company did give the FFRF its money back. The reason for a suit against them would be breach of contract. The FFRF had a contract with the company for two months, but the sign came down after a week.

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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2008 :  15:15:42   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ok, but they got their money back and one week of free display.

I don't see suing as being necessary. Especially suing the city which has, as far as we know, nothing to do with it.
I just don't like litigiousness, I guess.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2008 :  17:17:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Suing would probably be a waste of time in this case. As Dave_w has already pointed out... likely no paper trail and no way to prove intent.

Now if it were a business they could sue for damages from lost revenue the sign could have generated.

If I were involved I'd just hire a new sign, and if the new one were removed I'd have the ACLU on speed-dial.


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Hittman
Skeptic Friend

134 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2008 :  08:33:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hittman's Homepage Send Hittman a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The billboard company did give the FFRF its money back. The reason for a suit against them would be breach of contract. The FFRF had a contract with the company for two months, but the sign came down after a week.


IANAL, but the fact that they gave the money back probably means there was on breach of contract.

I just hired someone to do some work on my house, and gave them a down payment. If they showed up with the deposit, gave it back to me, and said "Sorry, I'm not going to be able to do the work, here's your money back," have they breached the contract? I don't think so the contract stipulated that they get the money and then do the work. If they give me the money back there's no harm done, and, I'm guessing, no contract breech.


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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25997 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2008 :  08:55:19   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Depends on how the contract is written, don't it?

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tomk80
SFN Regular

Netherlands
1278 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2008 :  10:24:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit tomk80's Homepage Send tomk80 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hittman
IANAL, but the fact that they gave the money back probably means there was on breach of contract.

I just hired someone to do some work on my house, and gave them a down payment. If they showed up with the deposit, gave it back to me, and said "Sorry, I'm not going to be able to do the work, here's your money back," have they breached the contract? I don't think so the contract stipulated that they get the money and then do the work. If they give me the money back there's no harm done, and, I'm guessing, no contract breech.

Depends on the contract. For example from my own line of work (although this example is probably not applicable here), if I need to get a research assignment done by a certain time and the company I hire to do it gives returns the assignment too late, I cannot get my research done in time. This can then give a delay in the work of others, leading to increased costs. In that case, returning the assignment has negative financial repurcussions for me and can be seen as a breach of contract.

Tom

`Contrariwise,' continued Tweedledee, `if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.'
-Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Caroll-
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 12/03/2008 :  16:20:21   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The billboard company probably is in breach of contract, but that's a relatively minor point, and the Freedom From Religion Foundation states that they don't want to tick off billboard companies. The billboard company was pressured into removing the sign by the city of Rancho Cucamonga, and that pressure -- and the clear intent behind it -- seems clearly demonstrated.

As the article states:
The lawsuit's claim that the city of Rancho Cucamonga intervened in the billboard matter is based on what Daniels told Daily Bulletin reporter Wendy Leung. In an article published on Nov. 20., Daniels was quoted as saying, "We contacted the sign company and asked if there was a way to get it removed."

Daniels was also quoted as saying the city had received 90 complaints about the billboard and added, "We didn't say they had to (take it down), but they respected the concerns of residents."
Looks like a slam-dunk case of violation of the Establishment Clause.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
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