After winning his First Amendment right to challenge the timing of yellow lights in court, now Mats Jarlstrom—along with a team of others—has also convinced the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) to reevaluate its guidelines for the timing of traffic signals. In 2017, the Institute for Justice (IJ) partnered with Mats to file a lawsuit…
Charlestown, Ind.—The homeowners in Charlestown’s Pleasant Ridge neighborhood will see Charlestown Mayor Robert Hall and his staff in court on November 12, 2019 for the start of a five-day trial on the homeowners’ claims that the city violated their constitutional rights. Yesterday, Judge Jason M. Mount of Scott County, sitting by special designation in Clark…
CHICAGO—Six South Side entrepreneurs took the stage last night with three crowned winners and all the contestants gaining valuable experience in promoting their unique business ideas. For six years running, the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship (IJ Clinic) has hosted South Side Pitch. Dinobi Detergent, which makes an all natural detergent, took first place…
Yesterday, Judge Staci M. Yandle of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois issued temporary restraining orders protecting two Granite City families from eviction under the city’s compulsory-eviction law. Represented by the Institute for Justice (IJ), the two families had filed civil-rights lawsuits against the city, the first in August and the…
Arlington, Va.—“If the government forces you to install a GPS device and can track your whereabouts, that is a search. But the Illinois Supreme Court ruled otherwise. That is why we are appealing this case to the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Robert Frommer, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ). IJ recently filed…
After living in her one-bedroom, one-bathroom house for nearly 40 years, Richland, Wash. resident Linda Cameron decided it was time for a renovation. Between visits from her friends and family, her modest home was proving to be too cramped, so she worked with a local builder to draw up plans to add a second bedroom…
Arlington, Virginia—More than 30 amicus (or “friend-of-the-court”) briefs have been filed in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue calling for greater educational choice for parents and their children. Espinoza, which is being litigated by the Institute for Justice (IJ), is expected to set a landmark precedent when it comes to education reform and will decide…
Teresa Quinones, of Lawrenceville, Ga., is a mother of three young children. Her two oldest children, Audri and Christopher, attend Notre Dame Academy, thanks to Georgia’s Scholarship Tax-Credit Program.
Keysha Newell is the mother of two children: One in a private elementary school, using using a scholarship from Nevada’s Scholarship Program, with the other in preschool. Newell plans to enroll her youngest child—who has a learning disability—in a private school. But without additional funding, the Scholarship Program may not have the funds to provide her youngest with a scholarship.
Vincent Blount has accumulated $2,800 in fines,and even served jail time, due to Pagedale, Missouri’s system of excessive municipal fines.
Under Gramite City, Illinois’ ordinance, private landlords are required to evict tenants if any member of the tenant’s household commits a crime anywhere, even if, as in Jessica and Kenny’s case, the actual criminal no longer lives in the house.
Ilumi has worked with children since she came to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic in 1995. Although she has a Child Development Associate credential (“CDA”) and was trained as a lawyer in her home country, Ilumi does not have the associate’s degree now required under District of Columbia’s new regulations.
Jim Ficken is a 69-year-old retiree living in a modest two-bedroom, one-bathroom home in Dunedin, Florida. For letting his lawn grow too long, Jim faces nearly $29,000 in fines and has been threatened with foreclosure.
After completing his military service as an Army Ranger, Jon McGlothian of Virginia Beach, Va., became a PMP-certified project manager. But Jon can’t advertise to the public or take on individual students because his school isn’t licensed by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
Lisa is one of the owners of White Cottage Red Door in Door County, Wisconsin. When the small business opened a food truck in its parking lot, the Town of Gibraltar’s board, chaired by a local restaurant owner, promptly banned all mobile businesses.
Brian Berube, owner of the Lonesome Dove saloon in Mandan, North Dakota, started his business with August “Augie” Kersten 28 years ago. The two commissioned a mural, which the city wants to take down.
Randy Sowers has run a dairy farm in Frederick County, Md. since 1981. But in 2012, the IRS seized the farm’s bank account because the Sowers deposited the cash in amounts under $10,000.
After obtaining her private certifications in canine massage therapy, Grace started volunteering with rescue agencies and adoption events to provide canine massage for ailing and neglected dogs. She later turned her volunteer hobby into a business, which she named Pawsitive Touch.
Susette is the Kelo in Kelo v. New London. She led her neighbors in a seven-year battle to save their homes from being taken by the government for private development, culminating in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2005.
Wendy trained as a makeup artist in Hollywood and has over 20 years of experience working with celebrities. But in Nevada, teaching others how to apply makeup without a government-issued license can subject you to up to $2,000 in fines.
Florence and Derrick would like their children to attend a Catholic high school in Aurora, Colo. But paying tuition for both children to attend Regis would be a substantial financial burden, so scholarships by Douglas County’s school choice program would help defray costs.
Bonnie Ybarra was able to obtain program scholarships for two of her three elementary school-aged girls to attend private school, with her youngest daughter set to join them this year. But absent an infusion of scholarship funds into Nevada’s program, Ybarra’s girls face a return to the public-school system that previously failed to meet their educational needs.
Benny Diaz owns and operates the “Taco Trap” food truck. But he can’t sell his tacos in Fort Pierce, Florida because the city bans all food trucks within 500 feet of a brick-and-mortar restaurant.
Corban Addison Klug (writing under the pen name “Corban Addison”) has published four novels and works out of his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. But Charlottesville and Albemarle County require a business license to write novels, and they have assessed thousands of dollars in back taxes against Corban and other hardworking freelance writers.
Harley Bruce owns Poor Piggy’s BBQ & Catering, which was the first food truck in Wilmington and serves up award-winning North Carolina barbecue.
Sage Lewis pioneered an innovative community for the homeless on his commercial property at 15 Broad Street in Akron, Ohio. His nonprofit, The Homeless Charity, provides tents, food, showers, computers, and other resources to 44 residents. But Akron is trying to eliminate his work through the city’s zoning code.
Byron Billingsley was cited by police in Doraville, Georgia for going around a truck traveling at 5 mph—with no other traffic around—without using his turn signal. After hiring a lawyer to defend himself he paid $100. He has to keep driving through Doraville as he works in the city.
St. Louis tried to take Jim Roos’ property through eminent domain. Jim protested by painting a giant sign on one of his buildings. The city then tried to censor him.
IJ client Laura Pekarik is an entrepreneurial dynamo who owns and operates the Cupcakes for Courage food truck.
John Heiderich and Gwendolyn Lee, have owned and operated rental properties in Seattle for more than forty years. They are unwilling to let the city intrude into their tenant’s home and are committed to helping their tenant protect her constitutional rights.
When John tried to expand his cab business to Bowling Green, he was stymied by a city law that limited the number of taxis allowed in the city to only 16. Less than two months after he filed a lawsuit, Bowling Green repealed the cap.
IJ client Dr. Ben Burris is an Arkansas orthodontist who wants to offer low-cost teeth cleanings to people who cannot otherwise afford them. But it is illegal for him to perform basic dental services, even though he is a licensed dentist.
Regino Soriano owns a popular food truck named El Bandolero, but his plans to expand have been significantly restricted by San Antonio’s city’s 300-foot rule.
Iowa’s certificate-of-need requirement prevents Michael Driesen and his children from receiving future ENT surgeries from Korver ENT because Korver ENT cannot open its proposed surgery center before obtaining a certificate of need.
Courtney wanted to become an esthetician so she could earn extra income and have flexible hours to spend with her son. But the state cosmetology board denied Courtney a license because of her criminal record, which has nothing to do with cosmetology.
August “Augie” Kersten is a co-owner of the Lonesome Dove saloon in Mandan, North Dakota. He started the Lonesome Dove 28 years ago with Brian Berube. The two commissioned a mural for the front of their saloon, which triggered a notice of violation from Mandan, which chided Augie and Brian for displaying art on their own property without first getting the city’s OK.
Next Chapter Winery is a family-run winery in New Prague, Minnesota built by Timothy and Therese Tulloch. To grow Next Chapter’s business, they would like to offer more varieties of wine, which would require using more grapes from other regions.
Ushaben used to thread part-time at the Threading Studio & Spa near New Orleans, often filling in for licensed estheticians when they were unable to work. But after state regulators ordered the business to terminate its unlicensed threaders, Ushaben is no longer permitted to thread in the studio.
Martha is a stay-at-home mom with two sons, a 5-year old and a 2-year old. She has baked her whole life and is professionally trained. Martha is Brazilian and lived in Brazil for 25 years, and she would like to start a home business focusing on Brazilian-inspired cookies.
Linda Cameron has been living in the same Richland, Washington home for nearly 40 years. After consulting with a builder, Linda decided to turn her outdated carport into a garage and add a second bedroom and bathroom. But Richland won’t give her a building permit unless she pays over $60,000 in “impact fees.”
Chip owns Live Oak Brewing, based in Austin, Texas. Established in 1997, Live Oak has been brewing craft beer long before its current surge in popularity. Now he is fighting a Texas law that forces craft brewers to give up millions of dollars of valuable property to politically connected beer distributors.
Pat Raynor, a lifelong hairstylist, became interested in working from home after her husband Harold passed away in 2009. But under Nashville’s ban on home-based businesses, Pat was forced to shut down her home hair salon.
Brent worked in banking for 42 years before he co-founded Vizaline to provide small community banks with a cost effective way to assess small property assets within their portfolios. But the Mississippi Board of Licensure for Professional Engineers and Surveyors claimed the company was practicing unlicensed surveying.
Visibly is a Chicago-based internet startup that offers consumers a simple promise: Get a new prescription for glasses or contacts from the comfort of your own home. In most states, Visibly’s technology allows doctors to provide faster and better service to more people—but not in South Carolina.
Flor Morency is the mother of twin children, a boy and a girl, who have received scholarships through Nevada’s program. But in July, Morency was told that her children could no longer receive a scholarship because a new state law made it statistically impossible to grant scholarships to all renewing students.
Arlene Harjo entered the world of civil forfeiture in April 2016, when her son, Tino, was arrested while driving her two-year-old Nissan Versa.
In May 2014, Philadelphia police showed up unannounced at Markela’s home and tried to seize the home through civil forfeiture because her son had been caught selling a small amount of drugs outside the home. After a year of uncertainty, the city agreed to stop seizing people’s homes without warning and forcing people to give up their constitutional rights and kick out family members. Even better—Markela’s son was allowed back home.