Barefooted library visitor has case tossed out again

May 28, 2005

A man who sued the Columbus Metropolitan Library for not allowing him to go barefoot had his case kicked out of court again yesterday.

Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued a final judgment dismissing the case of Robert A. Neinast. The court ruled he must adhere to the library’s customer code, which prohibits improper dress, including bare feet.

Neinast, 50, of Pickerington, said his rights to free speech, liberty and due process had been violated.

The court ruled the library’s rules are rational and do not violate constitutional rights.

In 2003, a federal court also rejected Neinast’s case. It found that requiring patrons to wear shoes "is necessary to protect both the health and safety of Library patrons."

Attorneys for the library had argued the shoe requirement protects patrons from harmful things found on their floors.

The library’s attorneys could not be reached for comment.

Neinast argued that being barefoot is good for his physical and emotional health. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The barefooted Neinast had been asked to leave the library several times between 1997 and 2001 and was evicted for one day.

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