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Page last updated on January 24, 2022 at 6:29 am

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Federal Court Rules for City of Bloomington in Farmers’ Market Case

Bloomington, Ind.–On Wednesday, a Federal District Court ruled in favor of the City of Bloomington in Schooner Creek Farms v City of Bloomington. The court rejected all the claims brought by the plaintiffs, awarding summary judgment to the City, Parks Administrator Paula McDevitt, and former Farmers’ Market Coordinator Marcia Veldman. The plaintiffs had alleged during the 2019 Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market season the City’s actions restrained their free speech, limited their freedom to associate, and violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the constitution.

“We are gratified that Judge Richard Young confirmed the City’s actions during the 2019 market season were appropriate to protect the integrity of the market, the safety of visitors to the market, and the constitutional rights of everyone involved—including strong voices of activism within our community,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “Our Community Farmers’ Market is one of Bloomington’s most treasured community assets. During the last three unusual years, I am extremely proud of how our staff, especially Paula McDevitt and Marcia Veldman, have diligently navigated various challenges to ensure that our community can continue to enjoy the market. Wednesday’s ruling confirms that we have been appropriately stewarding the market as we look forward to the beginning of the 2022 market season.”

In his ruling, District Court Judge Richard Young rejected each of the plaintiffs’ wide-ranging allegations. Judge Young concluded that “the City regularly enforced the market rules” and determined that in those instances where the City did not act to restrict behavior in the market, it did so “precisely to avoid violating the First Amendment.”  

Simultaneously with his order granting the City’s motion for summary judgment, Judge Young also denied a cross-motion for summary judgment filed by Dye and Mackey. The plaintiffs, Sarah Dye, Douglas Mackey, and Schooner Creek Farms have thirty days from the date the judgment is entered to file an appeal with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.