JURY FINDS CITY OF RIVIERA BEACH VIOLATED FANE LOZMAN’S RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH
Palm Beach Circuit Court Jury finds Fane Lozman’s First Amendment Rights were violated by the City of Riviera Beach
RIVIERA BEACH, FL–March 5, 2007— Mr. Fane Lozman prevailed against the City of Riviera Beach, Florida in the city’s attempt to evict him from the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina. Mr. Lozman, acting as his own attorney, successfully argued the First Amendment Defense in a three day jury trial presided over by Palm Beach Circuit Judge Peter M. Evans. After a short deliberation the jury rendered the unanimous verdict on March 2, 2007. Opposing counsel for Riviera Beach, Mr. George Roberts and Ms. Sherri Renner of the West Palm Beach law firm, Roberts, Reynolds, Bedard & Tuzzio offered no comment after the verdict was read.
The jury returned two findings. 1) Mr. Lozman’s protected speech was a substantial motivating factor in the City’s decision to terminate his lease. 2) That the eviction charges brought by the City relating to Mr. Lozman’s small dachshund were not sufficient grounds for eviction.
A second trial will be held in the near future on Mr. Lozman’s counterclaim for damages.
Mr. Lozman, who had been previously arrested for exercising his constitutional rights to free speech at a City Council meeting (charges dropped by the State Attorney,) argued to the jury that the eviction was yet another step in the ongoing illegal harassment he suffered at the hands of the City’s elected leaders. He further went on to show that the city’s true motivation for his eviction was retaliatory as a result of his continued exercise of his First Amendment rights at city council meetings and the sunshine lawsuit he filed against the city. This lawsuit forced the city to drop their threat of eminent domain that potentially would have affected thousands of homes and businesses, along with transferring control of the city marina to a private developer.
The City’s former Marina Director testified that the police were contacted on ten occasions while Mr. Lozman walked his leashed dachshund, “Lady,” providing further evidence of the lengths the city went to illegally harass Mr. Lozman.
Commenting on the verdict, Lozman said “This is a great day for the First Amendment Rights of the citizens of Riviera Beach and all Americans…. the City of Riviera Beach needs to become part of the United States, instead of a dictatorship where its citizens who dare to speak up are harassed by the police, arrested at council meetings or evicted from city owned property…”
Fane Lozman is the Chairman of Scanshift.com, a financial trading research firm.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Ms. Christine C. Newman/tel. 561-310-2263 }
Mr. Fane Lozman/tel. 786-251-5868