A civil lawsuit filed against the Town of Morrison has been settled. And the town will have to pay $50,000 to the people who filed the lawsuit.
It was almost a year ago when Jon and Lori Morehouse along with James and Barbara Vanden Boogart filed a lawsuit against the Town of Morrison.
The federal suit claimed the couples freedom of speech was being violated because the town had an ordinance on the books that prohibited signs, that expresses an opinion on an issue, from being displayed on private property.
In the Morehouse and Vanden Boogart’s case, the signs were about their opposition to wind turbines being built in the Town of Morrison.
“The town embarked on a long process of repeatedly serving them with takedown notices, attempting to fine them, and otherwise prohibiting them from exercising their First Amendment right,” says Rick Esenberg, who represented the Morehouses and Vanden Boogarts.
After talks and mediation sessions, the plaintiffs and the town reached a settlement that would pay the Morehouses and the Vanden Boogarts a total of $50,000.
Says Kevin Collins, Chairman of the Town of Morrison Board, “It comes to a point you’re dealing with taxpayers’ dollars and stuff, and so we wanted to, if we kept trying to fight things then that just prolongs the anger between parties and stuff and so I guess we just resolved to a solution that was the best for everyone.”
While about $20,000 of the settlement will go to pay legal fees, the plaintiffs’ attorney says his clients are pleased.
Esenberg says, “I think that they are happy that their constitutional rights have been vindicated, and not only will they be able to express themselves in the future but that other people.”
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