Judge says Mandan's restrictions "unlikely to survive constitutional muster"
Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to protect the mural of a North Dakota saloon, Lonesome Dove, from immediate removal. Lonesome Dove filed a lawsuit against the city on Monday after the city ordered the bar to either remove the mural by May 23 or suffer thousands in fines. In issuing…
Ruling Means Fewer Options for Consumers and Fewer Opportunities for Food Industry Entrepreneurs
Arlington, Va.—Today, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld two provisions of Chicago’s law that block food trucks from parking within 200 feet of restaurants and require they install GPS devices so city officials may track their every move. The Institute for Justice challenged these two provisions in 2012 on behalf of Laura Pekarik, owner of the…
Ruling vindicates Savannah guides in long-running free-speech battle
Savannah, Ga.—Does the First Amendment allow cities to make it illegal to give tours to paying groups without first passing a special test and obtaining a license from the city? A federal court in Savannah today joined other federal judges in holding that it does not. Today’s ruling comes in Freenor v. Mayor and Aldermen…
Lawsuit seeks to stop Mandan, North Dakota, from removing mural
Last fall, August “Augie” Kersten, co-owner of the Lonesome Dove saloon in Mandan, North Dakota, decided to brighten up his building with a mural. Other businesses in town have murals, and Augie thought it would be just the thing to bring color and character to the otherwise drab and industrial area where his business faced…
Following a ruling by a judge, food truck owners are now able to serve customers in downtown Fort Pierce
For the first time this Friday, Fort Pierce residents will be able to enjoy food truck food in downtown Fort Pierce. Just a few months ago, it was illegal for food trucks to operate within 500 feet of any establishment that sells food. That essentially blocked food trucks from doing business in Fort Pierce, since,…
Lawsuit Challenges City of Dunedin’s Attempt to Foreclose on Homeowner Fined Nearly $30,000 for Having Long Grass
St. Petersburg, Fla.—Yesterday, the city of Dunedin, Florida did something unthinkable: it authorized the foreclosure of someone’s home in order to collect fines the city assessed for having grass that was too long. And now, today, Jim Ficken, a 69-year old resident of Dunedin, is fighting back. He’s partnered with the Institute for Justice (IJ),…
Tallahassee, Fla.—Under a criminal-justice omnibus bill (HB 7125) passed by the Florida Legislature today, Florida may soon make it easier for people with criminal records to find work. Thanks to an amendment added by Sen. Jeff Brandes that is similar to his Fresh Start bill (SB 334), the omnibus bill addresses how occupational licensing blocks…
Summit Christian Academy is a private, nonprofit K-12 school located in Spokane, Washington. The school applied to participate in the state’s Work-Study Program, but was denied, simply because of its religious affiliation.
For more than 30 years, Hinga Mbogo has been fixing the cars of Dallas residents at his shop on Ross Avenue. But the city is trying to shut him down by using an oppressive and little-known zoning process called “amortization.”
The Archdiocese of Newark is one of the largest in terms of population in the U.S., with nearly 1.3 million Catholics and 219 parishes. The Archdiocese is fighting a New Jersey law that makes it a crime to sell monuments, such as headstones, to their parishioners.
Rett owns Revolver Brewing, south of Fort Worth. He is fighting a Texas law that forces brewers to give up their distribution rights to distributors for free. Even worse, distributors can then sell those rights to other distributors and pocket the money.
Russ Caswell and his family have owned and operated the Motel Caswell in Tewksbury, Mass., for two generations. The Caswells nearly had their property taken from them by local and federal law enforcement officials through a process known as civil forfeiture.
Jessica is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
Dr. Mark Baumel, of Colon Health Centers for America, wants to increase the rate of screening for colon cancers. But when Dr. Baumel and his partners sought Virginia’s permission to buy new CT scanners, it denied them a “certificate of need.”
The Cristofaros were plaintiffs in the infamous Kelo v. New London lawsuit, when the city tried to take their house again. Since the ruling, Mike has become a national spokesperson for property owners fighting eminent domain abuse.
Khalid (“Ken”) Quran moved to America in 1997, and now runs a convenience store in Greenville, N.C. But the government seized his entire bank account—more than $150,000—even though he was never charged with a crime.
Mary Lou Wesselhoeft and her husband Paul Wesselhoeft own Ocheesee Creamery, a small creamery in the Florida Panhandle. Because of the all-natural dairy philosophy that Mary Lou follows, she added nothing to the creamery’s skim milk. But a state agency wants her to use a confusing and misleading label that labels the milk something it is not: “Non-Grade ‘A’ Milk Product, Natural Milk Vitamins Removed.”
Vocatura’s Bakery was founded in 1919, almost one hundred years ago, and has been owned and operated by three generations of the Vocatura family. Claiming the owners violated so-called “structuring” laws by depositing cash in the bakery’s bank account in amounts less than $10,000, the IRS seized more than $68,000 from the family.
Achan works in fear that Iowa will punish her for providing her services without a license. If she could braid without a license, she would reopen her salon, grow her business and better provide for her family.
Founded in 2011, ROSE is an Atlanta-based, nonprofit organization that works to increase access to breastfeeding support and improve healthcare equity among African-American communities in Georgia and around the country.
Lisa Kivirist is a mother, farmer, business owner and avid baker. Lisa typically serves muffins and other baked goods at her B&B for breakfast, but the baked-good ban prohibits her from selling these same exact goods to guests.
Next Chapter Winery is a family-run winery in New Prague, Minnesota built by Timothy and Therese Tulloch. To grow Next Chapter’s business, they would like to offer more varieties of wine, which would require using more grapes from other regions.
Samantha Harris hired Sally Ladd, a New Jersey-based entrepreneur, to manager her short-term vacation rental in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. But when Pennsylvania wanted Ladd to obtain a real-estate broker’s license, which requires her to spend three years working for an established broker, Sally felt forced to shut down her business.
Teresa Quinones, of Lawrenceville, Ga., is a mother of three young children. Her two oldest children, Audri and Christopher, attend Notre Dame Academy, thanks to Georgia’s Scholarship Tax-Credit Program.
Dale Sorcher has cared for infants and toddlers at a Jewish day care on and off since 1996 and holds two masters degrees, one in social work and one in expressive therapy. Unfortunately, under a new regulation in the District of Columbia, her experience does not qualify her to keep her job.
James Slatic is a consummate entrepreneur who has started more than ten businesses and has been active in the medical marijuana movement. Annette works as a radiology technician for the local Veterans Administration Hospital. Lily is a sophomore at San Jose State University and her sister Penny is in high school.
Mildred Bryant is 84 years old and living out her golden years in the home she’s owned for 46 years in Pagedale, Missouri. But she faces a real threat of tickets, fines, and imprisonment from the town.
David Diaz, a custodian at a synagogue in the Bronx, lives with members of his family in an apartment near the Bronx Zoo. The NYPD raided the apartment in 2013, entering with guns drawn, and arrested all the adults present, but did not charge anyone.
Byron Billingsley was cited by police in Doraville, Georgia for going around a truck traveling at 5 mph—with no other traffic around—without using his turn signal. After hiring a lawyer to defend himself he paid $100. He has to keep driving through Doraville as he works in the city.
In March 2017, Phil Parhamovich, a musician from Madison, Wisconsin, was pulled over by the Wyoming Highway Patrol and pressured into signing a pre-printed waiver that stated he was “giving” his $91,800 in cash to the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
Fortunately, after the Institute for Justice took his case, law enforcement returned all of the cash they had wrongfully taken from Phil.
Brian Peffer owns and operates “Creative Chef on Wheels.” Brian simply wants to provide his customers with the best food and service he can, but Fort Pierce, Florida’s 500-foot ban stops him from competing.
Scott Fisher runs a video game store in Orange Park, Florida, just outside Jacksonville. To boost foot traffic and visibility for his business, he set up a giant inflatable Mario, only to run afoul of the town’s sign code. Scott has joined with the Institute for Justice to defend his First Amendment rights.
Dr. Mark Monteferrante wants to build a new, top-notch medical facility in Virginia. But under the commonwealth’s certificate of need (CON) program, he first has to persuade government officials that his facility would be “needed.”
Sally Ladd is a New Jersey-based entrepreneur who provides short-term vacation property management services in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. But after Pennsylvania wanted her to obtain a real-estate broker’s license, which requires her to spend three years working for an established broker, Sally felt forced to shut down her business.
Sung Cho owns and operates Super Laundromat and Drycleaners, one of the largest laundromats in Manhattan. Sung could be evicted, and his business closed, simply because his business was the site of a crime. The identity of the criminals was beside the point.
In 2011, police raided Jameelah El-Shabazz’s apartment in New York City and found several cups filled with crushed eggshells, which Jameelah uses for religious purposes. Believing the cups were filled with drugs, police arrested Jameelah and her son Akin and held them in jail for a week. They also had her apartment closed . City attorneys, relying on those same discredited allegations about the cups of crushed eggshells, claimed the apartment had been the site of drug crimes, and had her apartment closed under the city’s no-fault eviction ordinance. Unable to fight back in court, Jameelah had to agree to permanently bar her son from her home in order to regain access to her own apartment.
Ushaben used to thread part-time at the Threading Studio & Spa near New Orleans, often filling in for licensed estheticians when they were unable to work. But after state regulators ordered the business to terminate its unlicensed threaders, Ushaben is no longer permitted to thread in the studio.
Since 2014, Michelle has owned and operated her two food trucks in and around Wilmington, North Carolina: Momma Rock’s Dessert Truck specializes in event catering while T’Geaux Boys—a nod to Michelle’s Louisiana roots—operates as a more traditional food truck.