ACLU Wins Preliminary Injunction in Clearwater 'Fish Mural' First Amendment Lawsuit

Affiliate: ACLU of Florida
April 9, 2009 12:00 am

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CLEARWATER, Fla. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida received another victory in the now-famous “Fish Mural” lawsuit today when United States District Judge James D. Whittemore adopted the Magistrate Judge’s Report and Recommendation. The preliminary injunction prevents the City of Clearwater from imposing fines against The Complete Angler bait and tackle shop. The order also allows them to continue displaying the First Amendment banner, as well as the wildlife mural on the side of the business while the trial proceeds.

“This is a huge victory for The Complete Angler and for all small business owners in Clearwater,” said Maria Kayanan, ACLU of Florida associate legal director. “The city had no right to stifle the owners’ free speech, and we are very pleased that the court enjoined the city’s unconstitutional conduct.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and its Pinellas County Chapter filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of local business owners Heriberto and Lorraine Quintero, whose First Amendment rights have repeatedly been trampled on by the City of Clearwater. The ACLU lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction to prevent the city from further proceeding against the Quinteros for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech and political protest.

The original news release about the lawsuit can be viewed here:

Photos of the mural and free speech banner can be viewed at:

ACLU attorneys in The Complete Angler v. The City of Clearwater are Maria Kayanan, ACLU of Florida Associate Legal Director; James K. Green, Esq., cooperating counsel; and Bruce Howie, Esq., cooperating counsel. The lawsuit was filed today in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.

Read today’s order here:

Read the magistrate’s report here:

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