McDonnell v. City and County of Denver

Plaintiffs-Appellees, Nazli McDonnell and Eric Verlo, sought a preliminary injunction against Defendants, arguing policies and regulations governing protests and demonstrations at Denver International Airport (“DIA”) violated their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. On January 28, 2017, an unpermitted protest was held at DIA in an interior area colloquially known as the “Great Hall.” The protest was in response to Executive Order 13769 which, inter alia, temporarily suspended entry into the United States of nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries. A second unpermitted protest, which was organized and attended by the Plaintiffs, was held on January 29, 2017. The January 28th protest was allowed to continue without a permit but protestors were eventually moved from the Great Hall to an outdoor plaza. The January 29th protest took place near the international arrival area at the north end of the Great Hall and continued for several hours. Although protestors on both days were warned they could be arrested for continuing to demonstrate without a permit, no arrests were made. The district court granted the injunction in part, concluding Plaintiffs made the necessary showing with respect to their claim that the challenged regulations were unreasonable because they did not contain a formal process for expediting permit applications in exigent circumstances. The district court also enjoined Defendants from enforcing certain regulations governing the location of permitted protests and picketing restrictions, including the size of signage. The Tenth Circuit reversed, primarily because it applied the wrong legal standard in resolving whether the elements for granting a preliminary injunction were met: “[t]he district court’s flawed analysis and clearly erroneous factual finding led it to conclude that Plaintiffs demonstrated a strong likelihood of succeeding in their challenge to the lack of an exigency provision in [the Denver Municipal Code]. The court abused its discretion in so concluding.” View "McDonnell v. City and County of Denver" on Justia Law