Lebanese sues county over Facebook post
May 18 – Kevin Dininger of Lebanon is at the center of a federal lawsuit filed against Boone County.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the lawsuit on Dininger’s behalf last week.
Dininger claims the county violated his First Amendment rights by blocking him from the county’s Facebook page in April.
The county uses its Facebook page to disseminate information to the public on topics such as child abuse prevention training and road construction projects.
Dininger claims the county disabled comments on a post after he made a comment. The county message contained a letter from Boone County Commissioners regarding a proposed $58 million justice center project. Dininger wrote that because of the letter, he would vote for a man challenging a commissioner in the May primary election.
Disabling comments on the post resulted in Dininger’s comment being deleted, his lawsuit says.
Dininger then posted comments on his personal Facebook page regarding the county’s crippling comments on his posts.
The county responded by completely blocking Dininger from the county’s Facebook page, according to its lawsuit. This prohibits Dininger from accessing the page and “unjustifiably infringes upon Mr. Dininger’s First Amendment rights,” ACLU attorney Gavin Rose wrote in his lawsuit representing Dininger.
Rose is asking the court, in part, to order the county to unfreeze Dininger’s account and restore his previous comments to the same extent other users’ comments are permitted, and to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard. before blocking people from his Facebook page.
‘They released Mr Dininger earlier today at my direction,’ Robert Clutter, counsel for the commissioners, said on Tuesday.
Dininger’s experiment with the county’s Facebook page was unintentional and the result of an error, Clutter said.
Dininger is also seeking compensation for his attorney’s fees and “any other appropriate relief.”
Dininger, who identifies himself as a public figure on one of his Facebook pages, posted a notice of lawsuit on the page on May 12, the same day he was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of ‘Indiana, Indianapolis Division.
The county had yet to file a response to the complaint Tuesday, but commissioners released a joint statement that reads, “Boone County commissioners have received a complaint from the ACLU and take these allegations very seriously. An extensive internal investigation has been launched on Updates will be provided and a response will be published upon completion of this investigation.The Commissioners are strong supporters of the First Amendment and believe in everyone’s right to free speech.
The county’s Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/LivingINBooneCounty.