February 21, 2018

Federal judge grants temporary restraining order against city over Starry Night mural

By Jeremy Talcott Attorney

This morning, a federal judge granted our motion for a temporary restraining order against the City of Mount Dora. This puts the $100 a day fines on hold until we have an opportunity to argue that he should issue a preliminary injunction for the remainder of the case. Most importantly, it shows that the judge agrees that we are likely to succeed on our constitutional claims.

This is an important first victory for the family, which will preserve the status quo until the hearing on preliminary injunction, currently scheduled for March 6.

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Nemhauser v. City of Mount Dora

What started as artistic expression in Mount Dora, Florida, has escalated into a bureaucratic nightmare for Nancy Nemhauser and Lubomir Jastrzebski. When the couple painted a Van Gogh-style “Starry Night” mural on a wall outside their house, the city declared the art “graffiti” because it didn’t match the color of the house. But when Nancy and Lubomir responded by painting a similar mural on the house, the city branded both as illegal “signs,” and fined them $3,100 with orders to paint over the mural. On behalf of Nancy and Lubomir, PLF is challenging the city. We argue that banning such artistic murals is an abusive interpretation of the city’s sign ordinance, and violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

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