CHICAGO—Six South Side entrepreneurs took the stage last night with three crowned winners and all the contestants gaining valuable experience in promoting their unique business ideas. For six years running, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJ Clinic) has hosted South Side Pitch. Dinobi Detergent, which makes an all natural detergent, took first place…
Yesterday, Judge Staci M. Yandle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois issued temporary restraining orders protecting two Granite City families from eviction under the city’s compulsory-eviction law. Represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), the two families had filed civil-rights lawsuits against the city, the first in August and the…
Arlington, Va.—“If the government forces you to install a GPS device and can track your whereabouts, that is a search. But the Illinois Supreme Court ruled otherwise. That is why we are appealing this case to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Robert Frommer, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ). IJ recently filed…
After living in her one-bedroom, one-bathroom house for nearly 40 years, Richland, Wash. resident Linda Cameron decided it was time for a renovation. Between visits from her friends and family, her modest home was proving to be too cramped, so she worked with a local builder to draw up plans to add a second bedroom…
Arlington, Virginia—More than 30 amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) briefs have been filed in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue calling for greater educational choice for parents and their children. Espinoza, which is being litigated by the Institute for Justice (IJ), is expected to set a landmark precedent when it comes to education reform and will decide…
Arlington, Virginia—Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court returns for another term and among the cases it will hear is Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, a case expected to set a landmark precedent when it comes to education reform. Espinoza, which is being litigated by the Institute for Justice (IJ), will decide whether states may…
Today, Nashville’s Chancery Court of Davidson County upheld Nashville’s client prohibition for home-based businesses, preventing music producer Lij Shaw from recording musicians at his in-home studio and hair stylist Pat Raynor from cutting the hair of her long-time clients in a state-approved single-chair salon she built in her house. The lawsuit against Nashville’s home business…
Michael loves Charleston and plans to tell its story to visitors, but he will do so because he has a right to say what he wants—not because the city has given him its permission.
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.
IJ client Elmer Kilian has been preparing taxes for the past 30 years on his dining room table. He fought and successfully defended his right to earn an honest living without getting permission from the IRS.
Hilda Brucker was sitting at home one day working her job as a freelance writer. The phone rang, she answered, and was told by a hostile voice that if she didn’t come down to the courthouse at once she would be given a failure to appear violation. She hastily complied. When she got there, she found out that the city had issued a citation, although it had never told her about it. She later learned the citation stated she was charged with (1) “Rotted wood on house and chipping paint on fascia boards”; (2) “High weeds in backyard and ivy on tree and vines on house”; and (3) “Driveway in a state of disrepair.” Not knowing what to do, Hilda pled guilty to the driveway charge, while the other two were dismissed. She paid a fine of $100 and was sentenced to six months probation, where she had to report to a probation officer, avoid alcoholic intoxication, and cooperate “with code enforcement upon request.” She later hired an attorney who filed a motion to vacate her sentence, but the motion was continued several times, eventually being granted only after her six-month probation would have already ended. She also obtained a home equity line of credit in case she needed to pay for any of the fixes that the city nebulously demanded.
Michele Simon is the executive director of the Plant Based Foods Association, a trade group representing the nation’s leading plant-based foods companies. At the behest of the meat lobby, Mississippi banned food companies making plant-based meat alternatives from using any meat product terms on their labels, a law that harms the Association’s members.
Jim and Cliff Courtney have a plan to bring economic prosperity to their small community. Unfortunately, the state of Washington has sunk their plan with a law that requires them to obtain a certificate of “public convenience and necessity” from the state in order to pick up and drop off passengers.
Iowa’s certificate-of-need requirement prevents Michael Driesen and his children from receiving future ENT surgeries from Korver ENT because Korver ENT cannot open its proposed surgery center before obtaining a certificate of need.
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.”
Aurora Espinoza is a single mom who works a full‑time job to make ends meet, has two daughters who are trapped by their zip code in some of the worst public schools in the state.
Martha is a stay-at-home mom with two sons, a 5-year old and a 2-year old. She has baked her whole life and is professionally trained. Martha is Brazilian and lived in Brazil for 25 years, and she would like to start a home business focusing on Brazilian-inspired cookies.
Keysha Newell is the mother of two children: One in a private elementary school, using using a scholarship from Nevada’s Scholarship Program, with the other in preschool. Newell plans to enroll her youngest child—who has a learning disability—in a private school. But without additional funding, the Scholarship Program may not have the funds to provide her youngest with a scholarship.
Recognized as one of the top ophthalmologists in the country, Dr. Lee Birchansky seeks to offer the kind of medical innovation Iowans need.
After completing his military service as an Army Ranger, Jon McGlothian of Virginia Beach, Va., became a PMP-certified project manager. But Jon can’t advertise to the public or take on individual students because his school isn’t licensed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Lata has been threading since she was a teenager in India and saw a need for threading services in the New Orleans metropolitan area. But in June 2016, state regulators fined her business for employing unlicensed threaders, and ordered Lata to fire her unlicensed employees.
August “Augie” Kersten is a co-owner of the Lonesome Dove saloon in Mandan, North Dakota. He started the Lonesome Dove 28 years ago with Brian Berube. The two commissioned a mural for the front of their saloon, which triggered a notice of violation from Mandan, which chided Augie and Brian for displaying art on their own property without first getting the city’s OK.
Regino Soriano owns a popular food truck named El Bandolero, but his plans to expand have been significantly restricted by San Antonio’s city’s 300-foot rule.
John Rosemond’s lawsuit defends freedom of speech and freedom of the press from government officials who believe that it can be a crime in America to express an opinion in a newspaper.
Boaz is a full-time student who lives in a rental home that is currently subject to Seattle’s rental-inspection program.
The Washington Department of Licensing ordered IJ client Salamata Sylla to obtain a time-consuming and irrelevant cosmetology license for hair braiding. IJ sued on her behalf and forced the Department to adopt a rule exempting braiders.
The First Amendment should apply to licensed professionals who give advice over the Internet.
Norwood, Ohio wanted to bulldoze Carl and Joy’s home of more than three decades to make way for a private developer.
Bob Wilson is blocked by the city of Norfolk, Va., from displaying a banner protesting eminent domain abuse outside his business, Central Radio Company.
Jeana and Jack Horner are among the hundreds of people each year who find themselves caught in Indianapolis’s forfeiture machine.
Lisa 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.
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.
Harley Bruce owns Poor Piggy’s BBQ & Catering, which was the first food truck in Wilmington and serves up award-winning North Carolina barbecue.
Tour guides are storytellers, and the government can’t be in the business of deciding who is (or who is not) allowed to tell stories.
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.
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.
Dela Ends owns and runs a small, USDA-certified organic farm in Green County, Wisconsin. Selling her home-baked goods would let Dela help support her family, but is illegal under state law.
Jim Ficken is a 69-year-old retiree living in a modest two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Dunedin, Florida. For letting his lawn grow too long, Jim faces nearly $29,000 in fines and has been threatened with foreclosure.
Vincent Blount has accumulated $2,800 in fines,and even served jail time, due to Pagedale, Missouri’s system of excessive municipal fines.
Spencer Byrd, a Chicago resident and part-time auto mechanic, who had his car impounded after he gave a client ride who got arrested for drugs. A Cook County Circuit Court judge ordered that his car be returned, but Chicago will not release Spencer’s car until he pays all of the towing and storage fees—more than $17,000.
Visibly is a Chicago-based internet startup that offers consumers a simple promise: Get a new prescription for glasses or contacts from the comfort of your own home. In most states, Visibly’s technology allows doctors to provide faster and better service to more people—but not in South Carolina.
Janice received a $215 fine for “failure to obey traffic signs or control” in Doraville, Georgia. If she can, Janice now goes out of her way to avoid Doraville.
Bonnie Ybarra was able to obtain program scholarships for two of her three elementary school-aged girls to attend private school, with her youngest daughter set to join them this year. But absent an infusion of scholarship funds into Nevada’s program, Ybarra’s girls face a return to the public-school system that previously failed to meet their educational needs.
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.
Florence and Derrick would like their children to attend a Catholic high school in Aurora, Colo. But paying tuition for both children to attend Regis would be a substantial financial burden, so scholarships by Douglas County’s school choice program would help defray costs.
IJ client Thomas Halsnick is a limousine driver and entrepreneur who is required to charge consumers $50 a ride—no matter how short the ride—even though he want to charge less.