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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Fee Recovery Set for Park Protester in Permit Suit

WASHINGTON (CN) - A man who helped dismantle an old National Parks Service permitting requirement for protesters can recover some of his legal expenses, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin awarded Michael Boardley $74,554.74 in fees and expenses, representing Boardley's costs from the successful portion of his free-speech claim against the agency.

In 2010, the D.C. Circuit struck down a regulation that requires missionaries and political activists to get permits to demonstrate, hand out brochures or engage in other "expressive activities" in national parks.

"Those regulations penalize a substantial amount of speech that does not impinge on the government's interests," Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote for the three-judge panel.

Boardley had claimed that the permitting rule blocked him from distributing Christian materials around Mount Rushmore National Park in 2007.

Though Boardley's suit led to the abolishment of that requirement, Judge Gwin noted that some of his other claims failed, making him ineligible for a full costs recovery.

"Boardley brought five causes of action," Gwin wrote. "Ultimately, he was successful on one," failing to advance his "as-applied challenges and his religious freedom claims."

"That Boardley prevailed on one set of claims does not entitle Boardley to reimbursement for the costs of his entire lawsuit," he added.

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