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Order Granting Injunction in UCoR v. CATA

Order Granting Injunction in UCoR v. CATA

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categoriesBusiness/Law
Published by: Appignani Humanist Legal Center on Aug 16, 2011
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Case4:11-cv-00450-SWWDocument44Filed08/16/11Page1of15
INTHEUNITEDSTATESDISTRICTCOURT
EASTERNDISTRICTOFARKANSASWESTERNDIVISIONUNITEDCOALITIONOFREASON,
*
INC.
**
Plaintiff
**
V.
**
CENTRALARKANSASTRANSIT
*
AUTHORITYandONETHEMOVE
*
ADVERTISING,INC.
**
Defendants
*
NO:4:11CV00450SWW
ORDER
TheUnitedCoalitionofReason,Inc.("UCOR")commencedthisactionunder42U.S.C.§1983againsttheCentralArkansasTransitAuthority("CATA")andOntheMoveAdvertising,Inc.("OTMA"),claimingthatdefendantsviolatedUCOR'srighttofreespeechbyrefusingtoleaseitadvertisingspacelocatedonCATAbuses.Alongwiththecomplaint,UCORfiledamotionforapreliminaryinjunctionthatwouldrequirethedefendantstopermitUCORtoleaseadvertisingspaceonthesametermsavailabletoothers.AfterahearingheldAugust11,2011,theCourtgrantedUCOR'smotionforapreliminaryinjunction.Thisorderaugmentsandreaffirmsthefindingsoffactandconclusionsoflawmadefromthebench.'!Apartyisnotrequiredtoprovehiscaseinfullatthepreliminaryinjunctionstage,andthefindingsoffactandconclusionsoflawmadebytheCourtarenotbindingonthetrieroffact.
SeeHenderson
v.
BodineAluminum,Inc.,
70F.3d958,962(8
th
Cir.1995)(citing
UniversityofTexas
v.
Camenisch,
451U.S.390,395,101S.Ct.1830,1834(1981)).
1
 
Case4:11-cv-00450-SWWDocument44Filed08/16/11Page2of15
I.BackKround
PlaintiffUCORisanonprofitcorporation,withamissiontohelplocalnontheisticgroupsachievehighervisibilityandgainmoremembers.DefendantCATAisapubliccorporationempoweredbystatutetoprovidebusservicetoPulaskiCounty,Arkansas,
see
Ark.CodeAnn.§14-334-104,anddefendantOTMAisaprivatecorporation.PursuanttoawrittenagreementbetweenCATAandOTMA,OTMAsellsorleasesadvertisingspacelocatedonCATAbuses.DefendantscontendthatOTMAleasesadvertisingspacefromCATAandthen,actingasanindependentcontractor,subleasestheadspacetoadvertisers.A"SpaceRentalAgreement"betweenthedefendantsprovidesthat"theAuthority[CATA]andtheAdvertiser[OTMA]agreetoandherebylease,let,rent,takeandhirefrom[CATA]thefollowingdescribed'DemisedSpace':Entireexteriorofabusorbuses,exteriororinteriordisplaypanels."Plf.D.TheagreementdoesnotspecificallystatethatOTMAwillsubleasethe"demised"space,butitdoesprovidethatOTMAwillpayCATAfiftypercentofthe"netrentalcharge"within30daysofthecommencementofrentalagreements.
Seeid.
Thedefendants'agreementprovidesthatCATAreservestherightto"approveallcopy,displays,graphics,data,andadvertising"thatOTMAproposestolocateonthebuses"priortothesamebeingactuallyaffixed,situatedorplaced"onthebuses.
Id.
TheagreementfurtherprovidesthatOTMAwillbesolelyresponsiblefortherepairandmaintenanceof"copy,displays,graphics,dataoradvertising"placedonCATAbusesandthatallriskofloss,damage,theftordestructiontothesamewillbebornebyOTMA.
Id.
2
 
Case4:11-cv-00450-SWWDocument44Filed08/16/11Page3of15
OTMAsellsadspacelocatedonCATAbusesusingastandardformcontracttitled"AdvertisingLeaseContract"thatidentifiesOTMAastheagentforCATAandreferstoCATAas"Leasor."
See
PlfsHr'gEx.Aat2.TheformprovidesthatCATAreservestherighttoapproveallcopy,displays,graphics,data,andadvertisingproposedbytheadvertiser.Theformalsostatesthatthecontractis"ameresublease"byOTMA,andthattheadvertiser'srightsareconditioneduponpriorwrittenconsentbyCATA.
Id.
OnFebruary28,2011,ShaunBarbeau,amediabroker,notifiedLydiaRobertson,thepresidentofOTMA,thatUCORwantedtodisplayanadvertisementonCATAbusesbeforeandduringRiverfest,aneventheldannuallyinLittleRockandNorthLittleRockduringtheMemorialDayweekend.
S
If.'sHr'gEx.A,at46.Barbeau'semailincludedUCOR'sproposedadcopy,whichdepictsabackgroundofblueskyandwhitecloudswithtextreading:AreyougoodwithoutGod?Millionsare."TheproposedadalsoprovidesthewebsiteaddressofalocalgroupaffiliatedUCOR.BettyWineland,CATA'sexecutivedirector,testifiedthatRobertsonforwardedBarbeau'smessageandUCOR'sproposedadcopytoheronFebruary28,2011.Winelandrecalledthatshehadconcernsabouttheproposedad,thatitmightcreatenegativepublicityforCATA,andshewantedtimetoreviewitandtalktocounsel.AccordingtoWineland,thesamedayshereceivedUCOR'sproposedad,sheapprovedthe"artwork"and"reminded"RobertsonthatOTMAwouldberesponsibleforanydamage"thatrelatedto"theadvertisement.TherecordisvoidofwrittendocumentationshowingthatWinelandapprovedUCOR'sproposedad.ThefollowingseriesofemailcommunicationstookplaceafterBarbeau'semailmessagetoRobertsononFebruary28,2011:3

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