Outdoor One Communications, LLC v. Charter Township of Canton, Docket No. 21-1323, 2021 WL 5974157 (6th Cir. 2021)

The Township’s sign ordinance allowed for billboards, but Plaintiff wanted to construct one that was far larger than allowed under the ordinance, and its permit was denied based on its dimensions. Plaintiff filed a First Amendment lawsuit, alleging that the entire sign ordinance was unconstitutional based on the existence of allegedly content-based distinctions and that its permitting and variance procedures constituted a prior restraint. RSJA filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of the Township, while Plaintiff filed a cross-pre-discovery motion for summary judgment. The District Court denied Plaintiff’s motion and granted summary judgment to the Township on the basis that Plaintiff lacked standing for its challenge since its only alleged injury flowed from content-neutral constitutional dimensional requirements, and no other sign was treated more favorably based on its content. In addition to lacking an injury under other challenged ordinance provisions, those provisions were severable, such that Plaintiff still would not be allowed to construct its oversized sign even if it was correct that the other provisions were unconstitutional. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously affirmed the District Court for the same reasons, and because Plaintiff stated no injury relative to variance procedures since it did not use them. In so doing, the Sixth Circuit reaffirmed its commitment to following its precedent on constitutional standing for sign ordinance challengers that disfavors the type of broad attack that the plaintiff attempted to pursue in this case.