Library, lawyer settle demonstration dispute
AP October 27, 2012 4:40PM
Updated: November 29, 2012 6:57AM
FORT WAYNE — An attorney and a Fort Wayne library that he claimed violated his free speech rights have reached an agreement that will allow him to set up a display about the federal health care law on the building’s plaza.
Attorneys for David Kolhoff and the Allen County Public Library filed paperwork withdrawing their dispute Friday in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne. Judge Jon DeGuilio also canceled a hearing on Kolhoff’s lawsuit that had been scheduled for Monday.
In court documents, Kolhoff said he sought to use the library plaza to “educate” the public, which he claimed “fundamentally misunderstands” the health care law and its requirements. He wanted to set up a display with a bicycle, a small cart with banners and a laptop computer to counteract what he called “lies” concerning the law told by conservatives.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, which represents Kolhoff, claimed a library policy banning demonstrations and exhibits on the plaza violated his First Amendment rights. Library officials had offered to allow Kolhoff to demonstrate in a meeting room or produce a program for the library’s public access television channel, but he said neither alternative would be as effective as using the plaza.
Kolhoff said the library will allow the demonstration on the plaza as long as he stays within a designated area.
“That was fine with me. I never wanted to get in anybody’s way or bother anybody,” he said.
Library Director Jeffrey Krull said the two sides had worked out an agreement in principle.
“Our attorney worked with him to come up with an approach that we think will fit both of our needs and desires,” Krull told the newspaper. “We avoided the lawsuit and the hearing.”
Kolhoff joked that it was too bad the dispute wasn’t resolved earlier in the week when temperatures were in the 70s.