A Rhode Island man has sued the town of Portsmouth following a dispute over a sign calling out the towns hypocrisy and double standards.
Following his victory in court, Michael DiPaola bought a new plot of land and erected a sign depicting Harry and Lloyd from the Jim Carrey movie “Dumb and Dumber,” among others, and launched a barrage of criticism towards the government of Portsmouth, Newport Daily News reported.
DiPaola, with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Rhode Island sued the town after receiving a letting claiming the signs on his property violated zoning ordinances, demanding they be removed or a fine of $500 per day would be issued for every day that the signs remained up, Newport Daily News reported. (RELATED: First Amendment scores major victory in Seattle)
The suit was filed on first amendment grounds claiming that the town unlawfully restricted his right to free speech under the First Amendment and deprived him of the right, according to Newport Daily News.
FROM THE NEWSROOM: PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man involved in a legal tussle with the town of Portsmouth earlier this year over signs on his property critical of town officials is back at it.https://t.co/CbxUfXjAVd
— WINY Radio (@WINYRadio) December 2, 2021
The complaint argued that “residential signs are a form of unique expression entitled to the highest degree of protection under the First Amendment,” simply seeking a restraining order on enforcement of the towns ordinance violations along with compensation and lawyers fees, Newport Daily News reported.
The court ruled that the town is “permanently restrained and enjoined from enforcing and/or threatening to enforce,” and ordered to pay $17,500 in attorney fees and costs, according to the outlet.
“The Town of Portsmouth will pay nothing to Mr. DiPaola or his ACLU attorneys,” the town stated in a press release, “There is no court finding or admission by the Town of any violation of Mr. DiPaola’s constitutional rights, and no monetary damages will be paid to Mr. DiPaola.