PLAINTIFF’S SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM OF PERSUASIVE LAW TO HIS MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE INTERLOCUTORY APPEAL
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Plaintiff recalls Delaware Attorney General’s position supporting him:
But in 2011, when everyone has a cell phone, and most cell phones have camera, even video, capability, that time has arrived. To attempt to ban recording is as pointless as trying to prevent citizens from taking notes.
CONCLUSION: The DOJ should advise its client public bodies that to outright prohibit any recording of public meetings is highly risky. The law is evolving in a more permissive direction.
But now we have 200,000 other reasons to pay attention: Tisdale v. Gravitt, 51 F. Supp. 3d 1378 (N.D. Georgia 2014).
As an initial matter, the Court agrees that Plaintiff has a First Amendment interest in filming public officials at a public meeting. Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d 1332, 1333 (11th Cir. 2000) (“The First Amendment protects the right to gather information about what public officials do on public property, and specifically, a right to record matters of public interest.”). Prohibiting Plaintiff from video recording the meeting—even while permitting her to attend the meeting, take notes, or make audio recordings—impacted how she was able to obtain access to and present information about the City Council and its proceedings. See Blackston v. State of Ala., 30 F.3d 117, 120 (11th Cir. 1994).
Based on this record, the Court finds that a reasonable jury could conclude that Mayor Gravitt’s restrictive policy announced at the April 17, 2012 meeting was [**12] a total ban on filming in City Council meetings. If the restriction was a total ban, it burdens more speech than necessary to further the City’s interest in maintaining order and efficiency at its City Council meetings; consequently, the restriction was not narrowly tailored to serve the government interest.
Because Plaintiff—the non-moving party for the purposes of Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment—has presented evidence that could allow a reasonable jury to conclude that Mayor Gravitt announced a total ban, the Court cannot conclude as a matter of law that Defendants did not violate Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights. To the extent that Defendants move for summary judgment on grounds that no constitutional violation occurred, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment must be DENIED.
The case then settled for $200,000.00 – making Plaintiff’s $12,500.00 offer of Settlement seem rather miniscule indeed. http://www.forsythnews.com/archives/26998/
CUMMING — A $200,000 settlement has been reached in a Roswell woman’s federal lawsuit against the city of Cumming over reported free speech and search and seizure violations.
Nydia Tisdale confirmed Tuesday that she had received the payment.
The lawsuit stemmed from an April 2012 incident in which Tisdale was directed by Mayor H. Ford Gravitt to stop filming during a Cumming City Council meeting and asked to leave. She later returned and continued filming with a different device.
The same day as the incident, Georgia’s revised Open Meetings Act had gone into effect.
Crystal Ledford, public information assistant with the city, said that the city’s liability insurance provider, Public Risk Underwriters, had settled with Tisdale.
She added that no official action had been taken by the city council or administration.
The council was scheduled to meet Tuesday night.
The settlement, a copy of which was provided to the Forsyth County News by Tisdale’s attorney, Gerry Weber, established a March 13 deadline to pay Tisdale “inclusive of all penalties, damages, attorney’s fees and expenses.”
As part of the arrangement, Tisdale agreed to dismiss the settlement with prejudice upon payment. The parties also acknowledged that the terms of the agreement should not be construed as an admission of liability or responsibility by the defendants.
In addition, the city agreed to adopt a new policy on filming council meetings, which states that handheld recording devices can be used from anywhere in the meeting as long as they are not disruptive. And there will be a designated area during meetings for tripods, which cannot be set up in aisles.
Wherefore, given the Third Circuit case of Pomykacz v. Borough of W. Wildwood, 438 F. Supp. 2d 504 (2006) and now this case, in addition to the precatory remarks of Delaware AG Denn, it is patently clear that a Jury is entitled to hear Constitutional arguments on this matter. It is simply not as clear as Defendants and the Court have led the World to believe on LEXIS, Leagle or on any other publishing forum.
In Sum, Thomas Paine is still rolling in his grave.
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