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Lacroix v. Lee County

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division

July 23, 2018

ADAM LACROIX, an individual Plaintiff,
v.
LEE COUNTY, FLORIDA and JAMES DRZYMALA, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER [1]

          SHERI POLSTER CHAPPSELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

This matter comes before the Court on Plaintiff Adam Lacroix's (“Lacroix”) Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 7) filed on March 16, 2018. Defendants James Dryzmala (“Officer Dryzmala”) and Lee County, Florida (“Lee County”) responded on June 19, 2018, and June 20, 2018. (Docs. 36, 37, 38). Consequently, the matter is ripe for review.

         BACKGROUND

         Lacroix is an itinerant street preacher. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 33). He believes he has a mandate to “exercise his rights to freedom of speech and to further his religious, political, and social beliefs” in Lee County. (Doc. 1 ¶¶ 13, 41). He attempts to satisfy this mandate by discussing his faith with others, referring to “[b]iblical principles mentioning sexual immorality, ” distributing free literature and carrying portable signs. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 37, 40). He also wields a bullhorn to spread his religious message.[2]

         This case stems from Lacroix's attempt to preach at a sports complex in Lee County, Florida known as JetBlue Park (the “JetBlue Property”). (Doc. 1 at ¶ 64). The JetBlue Property consists of parcels owned by Lee County and NESV Florida Real Estate LLC. (Doc. 36-1). Lee County exclusively leases its portions of the JetBlue Property to the Boston Red Sox Baseball Club, Limited Partnership (the “Red Sox”) on a year-round basis for use as a spring training facility and for other non-baseball activities. (Docs. 36-2 at 5-7; 38-2 at ¶ 4).

         The JetBlue Property lies behind two entrances that sit north of a west-east thoroughfare. (Doc. 36-1). A street called Fenway South Drive runs in a semi-circle through the JetBlue Property with two outlets onto the external thoroughfare. (Doc. 36-1). At the west end of Fenway South Drive, a road called Power Alley branches off further westward toward parking spaces. (Doc. 36-1).

         (Image Omitted)

         (Doc. 36-1).

         On April 29, 2017, the Red Sox and NESV Florida Real Estate LLC allowed a private company to use the JetBlue Property for a music concert known as Fort Rock. (Docs. 1 at ¶ 64;1-8 at 9). The concert was permitted under Lee County's Special Events Permitting Ordinance (the “Ordinance”). (Doc. 1 at ¶ 65). The concert organizer requested the Lee County Sheriff's Office (“LCSO”) only allow concert patrons to enter the JetBlue Property. (Doc. 36-4 at ¶ 7).

         Enter Lacroix. On that date, he attempted to preach on the JetBlue Property near the intersection of Fenway South Drive and Power Alley. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 64, 66-67). After he began, Officer Dryzmala approached and summoned a concert organizer, who demanded Lacroix leave. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 82, 86-88). Officer Dryzmala then directed Lacroix to move outside of the JetBlue Property. (Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 97). When Lacroix protested, Officer Dryzmala informed him that further non-compliance would result in an arrest for trespass. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 99). Lacroix does not specify whether he complied with Officer Dryzmala's directive or if he faced reprisal for trespass.[3]

         Almost a year after the event, Lacroix filed a fourteen-count Complaint against Lee County and Officer Dryzmala. (Doc. 1). It alleges Lee County's Trespass Policy for county-owned property (the “Trespass Policy”), and the Ordinance are unconstitutional both facially and as-applied.[4] Now, Lacroix moves for a preliminary injunction.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         It is an “unremarkable observation that a preliminary injunction in advance of trial is an extraordinary remedy.” Bloedorn v. Grube, 631 F.3d 1218, 1229 (11th Cir. 2011). A meritorious application for a preliminary injunction must show: (1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; (2) an irreparable injury that will be suffered unless the injunction issues; (3) the movant's threatened injury outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; and (4) if issued, the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. Id.

         DISCUSSION

         Lacroix argues the Trespass Policy and the Ordinance are unconstitutional facially and as-applied. He contends that the purported unconstitutionality of both provisions merits a preliminary injunction. Defendants disagree. The Court, however, need not ...


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