‘Atheists’ bus ad lawsuit continues, trial approaches

A court date concerning the NEPA Freethought Society’s rejected ‘Atheists’ bus ad is approaching following new court documents released on April 10, 2017.

In April of 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP representing the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society filed a free speech lawsuit against the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) following COLTS’ refusal to display a bus advertisement with the word ‘atheists.’ In July of 2015, COLTS filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit to which ACLU and Schnader responded. The motion to dismiss was denied in January of 2016. COLTS has since responded in February of 2016, and depositions took place in 2016.

Most recently — on April 10, 2017 — United States District Judge Malachy E. Mannion signed documents denying both parties’ summary judgments to resolve the issue outside of court. There will be a pre-trial conference and a trial date will be set.

Stay tuned for more updates and see past information concerning the lawsuit, some of which was linked above, here.

New documents are available below:

COLTS Summary Judgment Opinion

COLTS Summary Judgment Order

 

Justin Vacula

Justin Vacula hosts the Stoic Philosophy Podcast; serves as co-organizer and spokesperson for the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society; and has hosted monthly Stoic Philosophy discussion groups for the Humanist Association of Greater Philadelphia.

He has appeared on and hosted various radio shows and podcasts; participated in formal debates and discussions; was a guest speaker for college-level courses; was featured in local, national, and international news; and has been invited to speak at various national, local, and statewide events.

Vacula received bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a minor in Professional Writing, and the distinguished W.A. Kilburn Memorial Award for Philosophy from King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He is currently living in the Scranton, PA area attending Marywood University’s graduate-level Mental Health Counseling program and has worked with the Arc of Luzerne County’s Transition to Community Employment program as a teacher’s assistant and job coach alongside adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

He also plays poker; volunteers as a member of the website and media team for the Greyhawk Reborn Dungeons & Dragons campaign while playing at events in the Eastern United States; and enjoys metal music.