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  • By Lisa Brody

Limited TRO granted to free speech plaintiffs

Clinton Baller and David Bloom, two Birmingham residents who filed suit against the city of Birmingham, Patty Bordman, mayor of the city, and city attorney Timothy Currier in federal court, alleging their free speech rights had been violated when they were restricted from speaking out about the proposed N. Old Woodward project at two city commission meetings, had a temporary restraining order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Victoria Roberts on Monday, August 5, prior to the commission meeting that evening.

The temporary restraining order, which the plaintiffs filed a motion for on Sunday, August 4, was limited in scope, and decided in a telephone conference call with each side's attorneys in attendance.

With both sides agreeing to the decision, at that night's meeting it was determined that the plaintiffs could not say “vote for” or “vote against” the N. Old Woodward project, and had to comply with all decorum requirements. Defendants could not interrupt the cable broadcast during the open comment segment of the meeting.

In addition, defendants' response to the original suit is due to Roberts' court August 19; plaintiffs' response is due back August 26. A hearing was scheduled to hear arguments on the motion for Wednesday, September 4 at 10 a.m.

The vote for a bond to help finance a portion of the project was held Tuesday, August 6, and was defeated.

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