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Case: Wilson v. Wallace

1:17-cv-00582 | U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Filed Date: Sept. 5, 2017

Case Ongoing

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On September 5, 2017, a group of citizens in Ohio sued an elected county representative in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for allegedly violating their First Amendment rights when he banned them from his Facebook page. The Facebook page was one of the representative’s primary means of communicating with constituents about local issues and was commonly used to address issues of concern to Township residents. Each citizen involved in the lawsuit had their comments delet…

On September 5, 2017, a group of citizens in Ohio sued an elected county representative in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio for allegedly violating their First Amendment rights when he banned them from his Facebook page. The Facebook page was one of the representative’s primary means of communicating with constituents about local issues and was commonly used to address issues of concern to Township residents. Each citizen involved in the lawsuit had their comments deleted and were banned from commenting on the page by the representative, who was offended by their criticism of his handling of public issues. Represented by private counsel, Plaintiffs claimed that this violated their First Amendment rights as it engaged in viewpoint discrimination and banned Plaintiffs from a digital forum for criticizing elected officials. Plaintiffs sought (1) a declaratory judgment that states their First Amendment rights were violated by the Township representative’s actions, (2) injunctive relief prohibiting the representative from banning Plaintiffs in violation of free speech guarantees, and (3) monetary damages and attorney’s fees. This case was assigned to District Judge Susan J. Dlott.

On October 24, 2017, a settlement was presented to the Court and Judge Susan J. Dlott approved it shortly thereafter. This judgment ordered the Hamilton Township elected representative to remove any bans on anyone trying to view his Facebook page and prohibited him from banning anyone else in the future, from either the Facebook page or any other of his social media sites being used as a tool of governance. However, banning would still be allowed in instances of credible threats, hate speech, degradation or shaming, or any other violations of the respective social media’s terms of service. The settlement also agreed to reward Plaintiffs any reasonable attorneys fees, expert fees, and costs incurred by Plaintiffs in enforcing the judgment.

Summary Authors

Kathleen Lok (9/22/2022)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document
1

1:17-cv-00582

Complaint & Jury Demand

Sept. 5, 2017

Sept. 5, 2017

Complaint
5

1:17-cv-00582

Consent Decree & Order

Oct. 30, 2017

Oct. 30, 2017

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/14500004/wilson-v-wallace/

Last updated Sept. 25, 2022, 10:42 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
1

COMPLAINT with JURY DEMAND against All Defendants ( Filing fee $ 400 paid - receipt number: 0648-6107491), filed by Lisa Wilson, Kyle Riley, Kathryn Wuest, Danny Wilson, Amanda Johnson. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet) (Engel, Joshua) (Entered: 09/05/2017)

Sept. 5, 2017

Sept. 5, 2017

Clearinghouse

If this case is referred, it will be to Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman. (bjc)

Sept. 6, 2017

Sept. 6, 2017

PACER
2

WAIVER OF SERVICE Returned Executed. Waiver sent to Defendant David Wallace on 9/5/2017; answer due 11/6/2017. (Engel, Joshua) Modified to include service and answer details on 9/28/2017 (eh). (Entered: 09/27/2017)

Sept. 27, 2017

Sept. 27, 2017

PACER
3

NOTICE of Appearance by Vincent P Antaki for Defendant David Wallace (Antaki, Vincent) (Entered: 10/24/2017)

Oct. 24, 2017

Oct. 24, 2017

PACER
4

Joint MOTION to Approve Consent Judgment by Plaintiffs Amanda Johnson, Kyle Riley, Danny Wilson, Lisa Wilson, Kathryn Wuest. (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order) (Engel, Joshua) (Entered: 10/24/2017)

Oct. 24, 2017

Oct. 24, 2017

PACER
5

CONSENT DECREE AND ORDER re 4 Motion to Approve Consent Judgment. Signed by Judge Susan J. Dlott on 10/30/2017. (jlw) (Entered: 10/30/2017)

Oct. 30, 2017

Oct. 30, 2017

Clearinghouse

Case Details

State / Territory: Ohio

Case Type(s):

Speech and Religious Freedom

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 5, 2017

Case Ongoing: Yes

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A group of citizens of Hamilton Township, Ohio, who had their comments deleted and were banned from commenting on an elected representative's Facebook page.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

David Wallace (Hamilton), Private Entity/Person

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)

Constitutional Clause(s):

Freedom of speech/association

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Monetary Relief

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Attorneys fees

Declaratory Judgment

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Order Duration: 2017 - None