AATA Lawsuit Update: Motion Hearing

U.S District judge Mark Goldsmith heard motions today, April 19, 2012, at the Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, in Flint, Michigan, on a lawsuit filed last year against the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority. At the AATA board meeting on April 19, board chair Jesse Bernstein reported that Goldsmith did not rule on anything from the bench; his written ruling is expected at some unspecified future time.

The initial lawsuit was filed by the ACLU on Nov. 28, 2011 on behalf of activist Blaine Coleman, who had sought to purchase an advertisement for the sides of AATA buses. The AATA refused to run the ad. The proposed ad includes the text, “Boycott ‘Israel’ Boycott Apartheid,” and an image depicting a scorpion-like creature with a skull for a head. [.pdf of image and text of proposed ad]

The two motions heard by Goldsmith on April 19 included one by the plaintiff – for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order, to compel the AATA to accept the advertisement for its buses that it had previously rejected. [.pdf of Nov. 29, 2011 ACLU motion for preliminary injunction]

The other motion heard on April 19 was AATA’s motion to dismiss the case. [.pdf of AATA motion to dismiss] [.pdf of AATA brief on preliminary injunction/restraining order] [.pdf of ACLU reply to AATA's response]

At its April 19 regular board meeting, the AATA board members had scheduled a closed session on the litigation, as permitted by the Michigan Open Meetings Act, but did not hold the session because Goldsmith did not rule on the two motions.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the downtown Ann Arbor District Library, where the AATA board holds its meetings. A detailed report of the meeting will follow: [link]