United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
POLSTER CHAPPELL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Andrew Sheets' Motion for
Preliminary Injunction (Doc. 27) and Defendant City of Punta
Gorda, Florida's response in opposition (Doc. 42). The
Court held oral argument on the matter. For these reasons,
the Court denies the Motion.
a case about video recording inside a government building.
(Doc. 23). The City has a municipal ordinance prohibiting
video and sound recording without the consent of those being
recorded (the “Ordinance”). Punta Gorda Code
§ 15-48(e). This prohibition applies to City Hall and
the City Hall Annex. Id. at § 15-48(d)-(e). To
test the Ordinance, Sheets went to City Hall wearing a body
inside, Sheets walked into the City clerk's office and
asked for a copy of the Ordinance. The City employee behind
the counter asked if she was being recorded and told Sheets
that she did not consent to recording. Another City employee
walked over and refused her consent too. In the end, the City
employees gave Sheets a copy of the Ordinance, so he left
City Hall and went to the City police station. There, Sheets
asked to speak with the police chief before an officer issued
him a trespass warning. The officer directed Sheets not to
return to City Hall or the Annex for one year.
filed a two-count Complaint, alleging First and Fourteenth
Amendment violations. (Doc. 23). These claims are facial and
preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic
remedy.” Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689
(2008) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). So
preliminary injunctions are the exception, not the rule.
Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, B.V. v. Consorcio
Barr, S.A., 320 F.3d 1205, 1210 (11th Cir. 2003). The
point of this relief is to preserve the status quo until a
final decision on the merits. Antoine on behalf of I.A.
v. Sch. Bd. of Collier Cty., 301 F.Supp.3d 1195, 1202
(M.D. Fla. 2018).
justify a preliminary injunction, the movant must demonstrate
(1) “a substantial likelihood of success on the merits;
(2) irreparable injury will be suffered unless the injunction
issues; (3) the threatened injury to the movant 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.” Siegel v.
LePore, 234 F.3d 1163, 1176 (11th Cir. 2000). Movants
must “clearly establish” their burden of
persuasion on each element. Callahan v. U.S. Dep't of
Health and Human Servs. through Alex Azar II, 939 F.3d
1251, 1257 (11th Cir. 2019) (citation omitted). If the first
element is unproven, a court can deny preliminary injunction
without considering the others. Pittman v. Cole, 267
F.3d 1269, 1292 (11th Cir. 2001).
failed to show a substantial likelihood of success on the
merits, which is necessary to get the extraordinary remedy of
a preliminary injunction. The Court, therefore, need not
analyze the remaining injunction elements, and it can simply
deny the Motion. Id.
Complaint's First Amendment challenge is facial and as
applied. But neither the pleadings nor briefing distinguish
between the two.
First Amendment protects the right to gather information
about what public officials do on public property, and
specifically, a right to record matters of public
interest.” Smith v. City of Cumming, 212 F.3d
1332, 1333 (11th Cir. 2000). Like all First Amendment
protections, this right is “subject to reasonable time,
manner and place restrictions.” Id. Here, the
Court assumes without deciding that Sheets had a First
Amendment right to record City employees while they worked in
City Hall because the City does not argue otherwise. Having
concluded Sheets had a First Amendment right, the Court must
determine the scope of that right.
is by now clear that the First Amendment does not guarantee
access to property just because it is owned by the
government.” Bloedorn v. Grube, 631 F.3d 1218,
1230 (11th Cir. 2011). Instead, “courts use
‘forum analysis to evaluate government restrictions on
purely private speech that occurs on government
property.'” Keister v. Bell, 879 F.3d
1282, 1288 (11th Cir. 2018) (quoting Walker v. Tex. Div.
Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., 135 S.Ct. 2239, 2250
(2015)). There are several different forums. Christian
Legal Soc'y Chapter of the Univ. of Cal., Hastings Coll.
of Law v. Martinez, 561 U.S. 661, 679 & n.11 (2010).
One type is a limited public forum. Pleasant Grove City,
Utah v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460, 469-70 (2009). Here, the
parties agree City Hall is a limited public forum. See
also Punta Gorda Code § 15-48(d) (designating City
Hall as a limited public forum).
distinction matters because the type of forum determines the
level of scrutiny applied.” Keister, 879 F.3d
at 1288. Ordinances regulating speech in limited public
forums are not subject to strict scrutiny. E.g.,
Summum, 555 U.S. at 469-70. This forum “exists
where a government has reserved [it] for certain groups or
for the discussion of certain topics.” Barrett v.
Walker Cty. Sch. Dist., 872 F.3d 1209, 1224 (11th Cir.
2017) (alteration accepted) (quoting Confederate
Veterans, 135 S.Ct. at 2250). So a limited public forum
is not “open to the public at large for discussion of
any and all topics.” Id. And it “can be
set up to grant only ‘selective access' to [the]
class” for which it is reserved. Id. (quoting
Ark. Educ. Television Comm'n v. Forbes, 523 U.S.
666, 679-80 (1998)). For that reason, regulating a limited
public forum need not be content neutral. E.g.,
id. at 1225. Instead, restrictions on a limited
public forum need only be (1) reasonable and (2) viewpoint
neutral. Christian Legal, 561 U.S. at 679 &
Sheets did not carry his burden to show the Ordinance is
unreasonable or viewpoint discriminatory. Thus, he is not
entitled to the extraordinary and drastic remedy of a
preliminary injunction that enjoins a municipal ordinance
before trial. See Chapter of Ass'n of Gen.
Contractors of Am. v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 896
F.2d 1283, 1285 (11th Cir. 1990) (noting preliminary
injunctions of legislative enactments “must be granted
reluctantly and only upon a clear showing”).