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Case Name Saieg v. City of Dearborn FA-MI-0001
Docket / Court 2:09-cv-12321 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Speech and Religious Freedom
Case Summary
On June 16, 2006, Plaintiff filed an action against the City of Dearborn and its Chief of Police under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit Office, alleging that the leafleting restriction violated his First Amendment right to free speech, as ... read more >
On June 16, 2006, Plaintiff filed an action against the City of Dearborn and its Chief of Police under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Detroit Office, alleging that the leafleting restriction violated his First Amendment right to free speech, as well as his freedom to associate, his free exercise of religion, and his right to equal protection.

Specifically, Plaintiff alleged that each summer, he attends the Arab International Festival ("Festival") in the City of Dearborn, Michigan ("City"). At the Festival, Plaintiff leads a group of Christians whose goal is to convert Muslims to Christianity. In 2009, Dearborn police instituted a leafleting restriction for the Festival. Pursuant to the restriction, no one may leaflet from the sidewalks that are directly adjacent to the Festival attractions, or on the sidewalks and roads that surround the Festival's core on each side by one to five city blocks. The restriction permits leafleting at the Festival only from a stationary booth and not while walking around the Festival.

The District Court (Judge Nancy G. Edmunds) denied a temporary restraining order before the 2009 Festival. On June 07, 2010, in a published opinion, the District Court (Judge Paul D. Borman) denied Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, denied Plaintiff's Request for Injunctive Relief, and granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

Plaintiff appealed to the Sixth Circuit. The Court of Appeals granted Plaintiff an injunction pending appeal for the 2010 Festival, permitting Plaintiff to distribute leaflets from the outer sidewalks and roads, but not on the sidewalks that are directly adjacent to the Festival attractions.

On May 26, 2011, in a published opinion, the Court of Appeals (Judge Karen Nelson Moore) reversed the District Court's grant of summary judgment to Defendants on the free speech claim, thereby invalidating the leafleting restriction within both the inner and outer perimeters of the Festival. The Court of Appeals held that the restriction on the sidewalks that are directly adjacent to the Festival attractions does not serve a substantial government interest. The City keeps those same sidewalks open for public traffic and permits sidewalk vendors, whose activity is more obstructive to sidewalk traffic flow than pedestrian leafleting is. Moreover, the prohibition of pedestrian leafleting in the outer perimeter is not narrowly tailored to the goal of isolating inner areas from vehicular traffic. The City can be held liable because the Chief of Police, who instituted the leafleting restriction, created official municipal policy.

The Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court's judgment for Defendants on all other claims. The case was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings as are consistent with this opinion.

Joshua Arocho - 06/26/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Dearborn Police Chief
the City of Dearborn
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a religious, non-profit organization that distributes leaflets at the Arab International Festival in the City of Dearborn, Michigan.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
2:09-cv-12321-PDB-RSW (E.D. Mich.) 03/09/2012
FA-MI-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 06/16/2009
FA-MI-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint 07/07/2009
FA-MI-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment and Request for Injuctive Relief 03/15/2010
FA-MI-0001-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 04/09/2010
FA-MI-0001-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opnion and Order (1) Denying Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (2) Denying Plaintiff's Request for Injunctive Relief, and (3) Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment 06/07/2010 (720 F.Supp.2d 817) (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0001-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appellant's Principle Brief 08/03/2010
FA-MI-0001-0006 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Appellee's Principle Brief 09/07/2010
FA-MI-0001-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
6th Circuit Opinion 05/26/2011 (641 F.3d 727)
FA-MI-0001-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Borman, Paul D. (E.D. Mich.)
FA-MI-0001-0005 | FA-MI-0001-9000
Moore, Karen Nelson (Sixth Circuit)
FA-MI-0001-0008
Whalen, R. Steven (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate]
FA-MI-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Becker, William J. (Louisiana)
FA-MI-0001-9000
Mersino, Erin Elizabeth (Michigan)
FA-MI-0001-9000
Muise, Robert J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0001-0001 | FA-MI-0001-0002 | FA-MI-0001-0003 | FA-MI-0001-0006 | FA-MI-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ellerbrake, Laurie M. (Illinois)
FA-MI-0001-0004 | FA-MI-0001-0007 | FA-MI-0001-9000
Zalewski, Matthew J. (Michigan)
FA-MI-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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