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Fort Lauderdale Hires Attorney, Moves to Dismiss Photo-Ban Lawsuit from Journalists

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Today is the deadline for the City of Fort Lauderdale to respond to a lawsuit by area journalists over signs illegally prohibiting photography near the downtown set of Rock of Ages.

Norm Kent, a lawyer and the publisher of South Florida Gay News, filed the suit last month, then met with City Attorney Harry Stewart in a hearing seeking an emergency order to prevent cops from enforcing the ban. While no arrests were made over photography, some cops did obstruct photographers, supposedly in the name of the law.

Now the city has retained Alain Boileau, an attorney with McIntosh Schwartz, to answer the charges. Boileau says that

today he is filing a preliminary motion to dismiss the case and cannot comment on it further.

Meanwhile, Kent is pissed off that the city didn't settle with him. How do we know? Kent says he told Stewart, "I'm pissed off that you didn't settle with me." Stewart's response, according to Kent? "Forgive me for you serving me with a lawsuit at 10 a.m. and expecting a settlement by 3 p.m." Or something along those lines, we imagine.

Kent said he expected the city to respond with a factual dispute, arguing that cops were never hassling anyone in the first place. "They'll probably say that the moment they heard about the signs, they ordered them taken down, that nobody was arrested, etc.," predicted Kent.

Boileau would not comment on how the city would proceed. An easy settlement is off the table, though, so we haven't heard the last of the dispute caused by an idiotic sign.

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