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City responds to Schooner Creek Farm lawsuit, asks court to rule in its favor



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Sarah Dye and her husband Doug Mackey speak to a customer Sept. 28 at their booth for Schooner Creek Farm at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market. The City of Bloomington alleges that the owners of Schooner Creek Farm broke their contract by filing a federal lawsuit against the city, mayor and other city officials. Ty Vinson

The City of Bloomington alleges that the owners of Schooner Creek Farm broke their farmer's market contract by filing a federal lawsuit against the city, mayor and other city officials, according to court documents filed April 13 in U.S. District Court.

The answer to the lawsuit responds point-by-point to Sarah Dye and Douglas Mackey’s allegations that the city violated the First Amendment violations by allowing political groups to protest the farm but not allowing Dye and Mackey to express their political beliefs.

"Defendants lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief about the truth of the allegation," the court documents state. The city also denied many of the allegations laid out in the document.

“We’ve been sued by a couple different people for the farmers market, and the responses have been the city has been responsible in following the law in all regards,” Bloomington mayor John Hamilton told WTIU.

Dye and Mackey’s lawsuit alleges that the city violated the farm owners’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and that the city violated those rights by allowing political groups such as No Space for Hate and the Purple Shirt Brigade to protest Schooner Creek Farm. The lawsuit then alleges that the city asked Dye and Mackey to not express their political beliefs.

The city requested the court award it compensation for losses and injuries caused by the lawsuit and grant the city any other relief the court finds “just and proper,” according to court documents.

City spokesperson Yaël Ksander said the city can’t comment on pending litigation.

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