Erica Brewer and Zach Mallory own four acres of land in Eagle, Wisconsin, where they raise chickens and lambs, grow fruits and vegetables, and maintain beehives. While they have full-time employment elsewhere, the farm provides an important supplement to their income. Until they can retire to full-time farming, Erica is an operating room nurse, and Zach, a veteran of the United States Coast Guard, is a cybersecurity specialist.
When Erica spoke out on behalf of neighbors she believed had been unfairly targeted by code enforcers, the small farm found itself in the crosshairs. Town officials threw the book at Erica and Zach for minor violations like an unpermitted flower shelf, tall grass, and the location of a barn that existed when they purchased the farm. The town also insisted that they tear down a small farm stand that stood in front of the house.
Facing fines amounting to more than $20,000, Erica and Zach teamed up with the Institute for Justice to launch a constitutional lawsuit against the town of Eagle.
First Amendment | Private Property
Small Wisconsin Town Weaponizes Code Enforcement to Enrich a Private Law Firm and Target Its Critics
The town of Eagle, WI works with a private law firm to punish residents who speak out against town officials by hitting them with excessive fines and fees through the code enforcement process. Victims of…