‘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

 

COLTS responds to ‘Atheists’ bus ad lawsuit

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County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) has filed a response to the April 2015 ‘atheists’ bus ad lawsuit

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 now responded to the April 2015 lawsuit. Read their response below. For reference, view the original complaint which is also linked below.

COLTS’ Answer to Complaint (2-8-16)

Freethought Complaint (April 2015)

COLTS’ motion to dismiss lawsuit is denied

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COLTS’ motion to dismiss federal lawsuit concerning their rejection of ‘Atheists’ bus ads has been denied.

In April of 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) joined by Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP filed a free speech lawsuit representing the Northeastern Pennsylvania Freethought Society against County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) following COLTS’ refusal to display ads with the word ‘Atheists’ on its buses.

In July of 2015, COLTS filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. ACLU and Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP since responded to the motion to dismiss.

Yesterday, United States District Judge Malachy E. Mannion denied COLTS’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Consider viewing the relevant documents below.

colts1_27_16MotionToDismissDenied

coltsorder1_27_16

Stay tuned for updates.

Coverage:

Friendly Atheist

Philly Voice

The Washington Post

Legal response to COLTS’ motion to dismiss

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More legal documents have been released concerning ACLU’s free speech lawsuit launched in April 2015 against County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS).

From April: The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit today against the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) over its refusal to allow a local atheist group, the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society, to advertise on its buses. The lawsuit argues that the transit system violated NEPA Freethought Society’s free speech rights by rejecting its ads because of the group’s views.

Earlier in July 2015, COLTS filed a motion to dismiss the April 2015 lawsuit.

Yesterday — July 27, 2015 — a response to the motion to dismiss has been issued. See the document included below:

2015-07-27 Opposition to COLTS MTD as filed

COLTS files motion to dismiss lawsuit

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The County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) has filed a motion to dismiss the April 2015 lawsuit previously mentioned on this page.

From April:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a federal lawsuit today against the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) over its refusal to allow a local atheist group, the Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) Freethought Society, to advertise on its buses. The lawsuit argues that the transit system violated NEPA Freethought Society’s free speech rights by rejecting its ads because of the group’s views.

See below documents concerning the motion to dismiss. I offer no commentary at this time. My legal team should soon offer a response which shall be linked on this website.

2015-06-25 COLTS brief ISO motion to dismiss (1)

2015-06-25 COLTS motion to dismiss (1)