Neinast v. Board of Trustees of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, et al.

No. 01 CVH 04 3104
(Franklin County Court of Common Pleas)
Removed to Federal District Court
No. C2-01-442
(Federal District Court)
No. 04 CVH 06 6341
(Franklin County Court of Common Pleas)
  No. 02-3482
(Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals)
No. 05AP-668
(10th District Court of Appeals)
  No. 03-1263
(U.S. Supreme Court)
No. 06-0508
(Ohio Supreme Court)

Index of the Briefs

The following contains the documents for Neinast v. Board of Trustees of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, et al. in hyperlinked format. While care has been taken to faithfully reproduce the official documents and filings, whenever any doubt arises about these contents, the original filings should always be consulted.

In particular, the filings have been converted to HTML. As such, while the text has been rendered, the actual details of the format may have changed.

Within the documents, in addition to the hyperlinks to other court cases, there are hyperlinks to specific quotes within those cases. These hyperlinks look like footnotes with the following symbol: Q>. There are also Errata hyperlinks; when an error or typographical mistake was found in the original filing, it is marked, footnote style, in the following manner: E1>.

The case was originally filed on April 3, 2001 in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas. The Library removed the case to Federal Court.

Here is the Docket Sheet for the case in District Court.

The Library won the case at the District Court level. The decision was appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Here is the Docket Sheet for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the District Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been petitioned for a writ of certiorari (this is how one asks the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling). Here is the Docket Sheet. The Supreme Court denied the petition, so that's the end of this case. We are left with the situation that, using the logic of the controlling 6th Circuit ruling, that a governmental unit can ban bare feet anywhere that there might be poo on the ground, even if it only appears in the rest rooms. Thus, bare feet can be banned at the beach (if they have rest rooms) or in a park, or on a city street.

The American Library Association has published a book called the Intellectual Freedom Manual in which they have a short discussion of this case. You can read that excerpt here. The problem with this discussion is that it took the court at its word (which, you would think would be the proper thing to do, but in this case it's not). For instance, if you read the excerpt and its quote from the court decision, you would think that there was blood and feces and other dangers throughout the library. But, if you look through the docket of the case and the actual evidence presented, the blood was from somebody smearing a used tampon on the wall of a bathroom. Similarly, the feces were in the bathroom of the library, not the library itself. Besides that, the court assumed that stepping in feces was in itself a significant danger, which, while disgusting, it simply is not. Unfortunately, the ALA excerpt depended on a number of half-truths put forth by the courts.


Then again, it may not be over. I have refiled the suit in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in order to have the state law claims addressed (the Federal courts completely ignored those claims). When I refiled, there were definitely issues of res judicata. However, in August of 2004, the Board of Trustees passed a real Code of Conduct (previously there was only an edict from the Executive Director of the Library). The issue of whether the Board could create such a code of conduct was not ripe until they passed it, so res judicata should no longer apply. Here is the new Docket Sheet. Here is the Library's new Code of Conduct.

Lost again. Hmmm. Are they trying to send a message? Well, I've appealed again, this time to the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals. Here is the docket sheet for that one. At least I didn't have the res judicata part of the case go against me. But I lose again. This time I have the court of appeals say that the phrase "proper operation and management" contains the intelligible principle (or discernible public policy declaration) that allows the Library to make their rule. Who's kidding whom?

Oh, well. I might as well go for the double triple (a chance to lose at every level of federal court and every level of state court). So, I've appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court. That docket is here. And now it's a done deal. On June 21, the Ohio Supreme Court denied my appeal. It really is over.