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Case Name NAACP v. Peterman PN-NC-0003
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-613 ( M.D. N.C. )
State/Territory North Carolina
Case Type(s) Policing
Special Collection Police Violence Protests (Spring/Summer 2020)
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Case Summary
The complaint for this case was filed on July 2, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The complaint challenged an ordinance in Graham, North Carolina that forced would-be organizers of protests to obtain a permit from the city at least twenty four hours in ... read more >
The complaint for this case was filed on July 2, 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. The complaint challenged an ordinance in Graham, North Carolina that forced would-be organizers of protests to obtain a permit from the city at least twenty four hours in advance. The ordinance gave the police chief total discretion to grant or deny permits based on whether the protest would cause a disturbance. Plaintiffs were individuals and organizations, including the Alamance County Branch of the NAACP and the national NAACP, who wanted to protest systemic racism, police brutality, and a local Confederate monument in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. They were represented by counsel from the ACLU of North Carolina, the national ACLU, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and private attorneys. Defendants were various city and county officials, including the Mayor of Graham, the Chief of Police of Graham Police Department, and the Sheriff of Alamance County. Plaintiffs brought the suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that the ordinance and its enforcement violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution. The First Amendment claim alleged that the ordinance was content-based regulation of speech and unconstitutional prior restraint. The Fourteenth Amendment claim alleged that the ordinance was unconstitutionally vague since it did not provide notice of what standards were required to get a permit and that it violated the plaintiffs' right to travel. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief, as well as attorney's fees and costs.

The case was assigned to Judge Catherine C. Eagles and Magistrate Judge L. Patrick Auld.

Defendants consented to a temporary restraining order (TRO) that would prohibit defendants from enforcing the ordinance for fourteen days. The court granted this consent motion on July 6. Then, on July 14, the city council repealed the ordinance, which rendered any issued or prospective injunctive relief moot. The court granted the order withdrawing motions for injunctive relief on July 16.

However, on July 17, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint which made the same legal complaints (violations of the First and Fourteenth Amendments), but this time focused on being allowed to protest at the courthouse, rather than the ordinance. On July 28, the plaintiffs submitted a second motion for a temporary restraining order that would enjoin the defendants from prohibiting their protests at the courthouse.

In early August, Judge Eagles issued her opinion regarding the motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. 2020 WL 457284. She held that, while the plaintiffs were highly likely to succeed on the merits, the balance of equities was in the defendants' favor as to the temporary restraining order. She found that the wording of the order was problematic and wanted to give defendants a chance to put in place reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions to protect public property. Therefore, she denied the motion for a temporary restraining order and left the motion for preliminary injunction pending.

On August 14, the court issued an order granting the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction. 2020 WL 4738015. The court found that defendants' actions restricting protests at the courthouse constituted a total prohibition, rather than a time, place, or manner restriction. The total prohibition was not narrowly tailored, and so the court found that the plaintiffs were entitled to a preliminary injunction. The order enjoined the defendants from prohibiting protests at the courthouse steps, the courthouse lawns, the sidewalks, and the area between the courthouse and the Confederate monument. However, the order left an exemption that allowed the defendants to impose reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions or to temporarily prohibit protests in the event of a short-term emergency (for example, if a person had a heart attack and emergency services needed to interrupt the protest).

The case is ongoing as of October 1, 2020.

Jack Hibbard - 10/01/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Freedom of speech/association
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Disparate Impact
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Chief of Police of Graham
Mayor of Graham
Sheriff of Alamance County
Plaintiff Description NAACP of Alamance County, NAACP national, and several individual plaintiffs
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
ACLU National (all projects)
Lawyers Comm. for Civil Rights Under Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
City voted to repeal ordinance
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 07/02/2020
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  NAACP Alamance v. Peterman (Protest Rights)
ACLU of North Carolina
Date: Jul. 6, 2020
By: ACLU of North Carolina
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:20-cv-00613-CCE-LPA (M.D. N.C.)
PN-NC-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/11/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief [ECF# 1]
PN-NC-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 2 (incl. 2-1 to 2-10)]
PN-NC-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/02/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Brief in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 3]
PN-NC-0003-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/03/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Consent Temporary Restraining Order [ECF# 15] (M.D. N.C.)
PN-NC-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/06/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants Terry S. Johnson and Bryan Hagood's Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 22]
PN-NC-0003-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/15/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 27]
PN-NC-0003-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/17/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 57] (2020 WL 4572848) (M.D. N.C.)
PN-NC-0003-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/07/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 62] (2020 WL 4738015) (M.D. N.C.)
PN-NC-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 08/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 63] (M.D. N.C.)
PN-NC-0003-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/14/2020
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Auld, Patrick Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-9000
Eagles, Catherine Caldwell (M.D. N.C.) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0004 | PN-NC-0003-0007 | PN-NC-0003-0008 | PN-NC-0003-0009 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dorosin, Mark (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Eidelman, Vera (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Graunke, Kristi L. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Haddix, Elizabeth (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Holmes, Curtis Scott (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Siegel, Daniel K. (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Sykes, Emerson J (New York) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0001 | PN-NC-0003-0002 | PN-NC-0003-0003 | PN-NC-0003-0006 | PN-NC-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Biller, Anthony Joseph (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-9000
Ferguson, Jay Hardin (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-9000
Hill, William L (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PN-NC-0003-0005 | PN-NC-0003-9000

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