Los Angeles Billboard Laws Survive Appeal

     LOS ANGELES (CN) — Five Los Angeles ordinances banning display of mobile billboards do not violate the free-speech rights of a person and company that challenged them, the Ninth Circuit ruled Thursday.
     Lone Star Security & Video in 2011 sued Los Angeles and three other cities that had laws banning mobile billboard advertisements on sign trailers. Sami Ammari sued Los Angeles in a similar claim in 2012, regarding signs on motor vehicles.
     Both plaintiffs appealed when U.S. District Judge Otis Wright found that city bans do not violate the First Amendment.
     A three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit affirmed Wright’s order on Thursday, finding that the mobile billboard bans regulate the “manner — not the content — of affected speech.” The bans were enacted to address a government interest in freeing up parking spaces and reducing traffic hazards, and there are “ample alternative channels” for the plaintiffs’ advertisements, the court ruled.
     In the 19-page opinion, Judge Mary Murguia wrote that the challenged laws limit only the “types of vehicles to which mobile billboards may be affixed” and the “manner in which billboard advertisements can be displayed.”
     “Appellants are free to disseminate their messages through myriad other channels, such as stationary billboards, bus benches, flyers, newspapers, or handbills. Appellants may also paint signs on vehicles and attach decals or bumper stickers,” Murguia wrote.
     Judges Stephen Reinhardt and John Owens concurred.

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