For more than a year, David Mech -- formerly known as porn star and director Dave Pounder -- has been tussling with the Palm Beach County School Board. In federal court, the Boca Raton resident charged that the district wrongly yanked down banners advertising his math tutoring business because some parents voiced concerns over his old adult-oriented line of work. Last week, however, a federal judge delivered a harsh blow that will likely ground Mech's legal claims.
Mech's lawsuit against the school board claimed the removal of the signs constituted a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech, his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and equal protection, and a breach of contract.
In an order issued last week, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra disagreed, dismissing Mech's federal claims. "[The school] did not remove Plaintiff's banners because of the expression contained therein," Marra wrote. "Rather, it removed the banners for a reason unrelated to Plaintiff's speech -- the known association of Plaintiff's tutoring business with his adult media business."
The judge added: "Defendant owed Plaintiff no contractual or constitutional duty to display the banners."
Marra, however, didn't shoot down Mech's claim of breach of contract, which is tied to state law. Technically, the tutor could refile and fight it out all over again on that issue.
On Monday afternoon, a disappointed Mech emailed out the below statement:
"I am both surprised and disappointed by the Court's decision and currently evaluating my prospects for a successful appeal. It is unfathomable to me that administrators in our public institutions are allowed to arbitrarily discriminate against citizens for perfectly lawful conduct; especially conduct that occurred in the past. As Associate Justice Rufus Peckham opined, '[A citizen should be free] ... to earn his livelihood by any lawful calling, to pursue any livelihood or avocation, and for that purpose to enter into all contracts which may be proper, necessary, and essential to his carrying out to a successful conclusion the purposes above mentioned.'"
Earlier this year, Mech lost a bid for a seat on the Palm Beach School Board. Although his campaign featured a lot of interesting ideas, it seems like the candidate was a little ahead of the times for voters.
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