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Monday, June 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Court Won’t Let Town Enact Day-Laborer Ban

MANHATTAN (CN) - The 2nd Circuit declined to touch an injunction blocking a Long Island town's law that would make it illegal for day laborers to solicit work or for drivers to pick them up.

The Town of Oyster Bay - which 2000 census records put at more than 90 percent white - passed an ordinance in 2009 that prohibits day laborers from standing near public streets, and from stopping or flagging down cars to solicit work. It also makes it illegal for drivers to picking up day laborers.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that blocked the law in May, days after Centro de la Comunidad Hispana de Locust Valley and the Workplace Project sued the Town of Oyster Bay and Town Supervisor John Venditto in the Eastern District of New York.

Since temporary restraining orders cannot be appealed, the town maneuvered to convert the order into an appealable preliminary injunction, which the court entered on June 1.

But the 2nd Circuit declined to play ball on Tuesday, noting that the record is insufficient.

"Of course, the Town does not actually seek review only of the district court's acquiescence to its request; rather, it seeks a decision on the merits of the plaintiffs' claims," the unsigned opinion states. "But, even assuming that we have discretion to reach back to the merits of the otherwise unreviewable TRO, we do not have a proper record on which to address the merits."

With only the complaint, court transcripts a court order and two affidavits regarding standing, the justices said they have "little ground to resolve any merits questions."

"We intend no criticism of the district court for granting the TRO without a developed factual record," the six-page order states. "Nor can the district court be faulted for granting an unopposed motion to extend the TRO into a preliminary injunction."

The justices concluded that it would be more appropriate to weigh the injunction after a hearing on the merits.

Earlier this month, a federal judge pushed forward a lawsuit by 10 Latinos who claim discrimination against Farmingdale, one of the villages in the Town of Oyster Bay.

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