Thursday, January 08, 2009

1st Amendment Suit Against Ohio Library Settled For Attorneys' Fees

Yesterday's Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a lawsuit against the Clermont County (OH) Public Library, challenging its rules on use of its meeting rooms, has been settled. Under previous library rules, rooms could be used by non-profit community groups, but not for political, religious or social events. The suit, alleging 1st and 14th Amendment violations, was brought by a couple who wanted to present two days of Biblically-based financial planning workshops. In response the library changed its rules to exclude all outside groups from using the rooms. (See prior posting.) Under the settlement, plaintiffs' attorneys receive $10,000 in fees. Plaintiff George Vandergriff expressed disappointment that the settlement did not include an admission of wrongdoing by the library. However Joe Braun, president of the library board, said: "Every member of the Clermont County Library Board is a practicing Christian. So it’s beyond my comprehension that anyone would suggest we would treat someone in an improper manner because of their religion."