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MCCORMACK v. TOWNSHIP OF CLINTON

October 3, 1994

BRIAN McCORMACK, Plaintiff,
v.
TOWNSHIP OF CLINTON, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GARRETT E. BROWN, JR.

 BROWN, District Judge

 This matter comes before the Court on the application of plaintiff pro se, Brian McCormack, for an Order of this Court preliminarily enjoining defendant from enforcing Clinton Township Ordinance No. 552-94, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 65. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant plaintiff's application for preliminary injunctive relief.

 I. BACKGROUND

 On June 23, 1994, the Clinton Township Council adopted Ordinance No. 552-94, which provides in relevant part:

 
(A) Political: Any sign supporting any particular candidate, candidates party, etc., in any given election year and pertaining to election related matters.
 
. . . .
 
(6) Political signs:
 
. . . .

 Ordinance No. 552-94, "An Ordinance to Amend Chapter 101 Entiled 'Signs,'" codified at Clinton Code Article IV ยง 101-9(G)(2), Attached as Appendix A-2 to Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Application for Injunctive Relief. The resolution introducing the ordinance states that its purpose is "to set forth reasonable restrictions to control the erection and removal of political signs in the interest of public safety[.]" Id. Amplifying this statement, Stephen Haynes, Councilman for the Township of Clinton, states:

 
Signs that I had mounted to wooden laths often were blown over by the wind or fell over and had to be fixed when it rained. I am concerned that a sign could fly into a passing car.
 
4. The longer the signs are up the higher the risk of them ending up on the ground or in the road. These fallen signs, combined with political flyers falling off of mailboxes, create an unnecessary litter problem and significantly impact on the aesthetics of the community as a whole. To produce more durable signs would only escalate the cost of running for election and promote the philosophy that elections can be won by the best funded candidates.

 Certification of Stephen Haynes, at PP 3-4.

 On September 9, 1994, plaintiff commenced this action, contending that Ordinance No. 552-94 is an unconstitutional abridgement of the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. *fn1" Plaintiff initially sought a Temporary Restraining Order on September 9, 1994. This Court denied that request and permitted defendant to submit a response to plaintiff's application. On September 14, 1994, after reviewing the papers submitted by both sides and hearing oral argument, the Court granted plaintiff's application for temporary restraints pending the issuance of an injunction preliminarily restraining defendant from enforcement of Ordinance No. 552-94. This memorandum constitutes the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law in support of the preliminary injunction.

 II. DISCUSSION

 The grant of preliminary injunctive relief is an "extraordinary remedy, which should be granted only in limited circumstances." Frank's GMC Truck Center, Inc. v. General Motors Corp., 847 F.2d 100, 102 (3d Cir. 1988) (citing United States v. City of Philadelphia, 644 F.2d 187, 191 n.1 (3d Cir. 1980)). When deciding such a motion, a court must consider four factors: (1) the moving party's likelihood of success on the merits; (2) the probability of irreparable injury to the moving party in the absence of relief; (3) the potential harm to the non-moving party; and, if applicable, (4) the public interest. Fechter v. HMW Indus., Inc., 879 F.2d 1111, 1116 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing United States v. Price, 688 F.2d 204, 211 (3d Cir. 1982)). "Only if the movant produces evidence sufficient to convince the trial judge that all four factors favor ...


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