ATLANTA — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has upheld a lower court’s decision to allow a preliminary injunction that stops the City of Miami Beach from enforcing two new ordinances to stop what it alleges was aggressive handbilling along Lincoln Road in the city's art deco historic district.
FF Cosmetics FL Inc., Timeless Cosmetics FL Inc., Brilliance New York LLC and Oceane FL Cosmetics Inc. had opposed the two city ordinances that restrict their businesses from using handbilling techniques.
“Each store depends on solicitation as its primary, and most effective, form of advertisement, employing several greeters to stand outside the storefront and attract potential customers inside,” court documents state.
The city alleges that greeters are often aggressive with passersby, use unwelcome touching and harass people to get them to come into their businesses.
“Visitors, storeowners and residents of the Historic District testified to the annoyance, inconvenience and general unpleasantness of being barraged with menus, free samples and comments from greeters," the appeals court said in its decision. "The record shows that individuals expressed concerns about the effects on tourism, property values, quality of life and the unique aesthetic of the city’s Historic District.”
Due to these complaints, the city began enforcing an anti-solicitation ordinance and an anti-handbilling ordinance. Retailers then sued the city after receiving numerous citations, questioning the constitutionality of the ordinances.
The retailers argued that the ordinances were “overbroad, unconstitutionally vague and violative of the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment,” according to court documents.
Retailers then sought a preliminary injunction and damages from fines incurred and lost businesses due to the enforcement of the ordinances.
The city then amended the ordinances, but it was not enough for the court’s approval, which found the wording in the commercial handbilling ordinance to be “overbroad” and granted retailers the preliminary injunction.
The city declined to comment on the case.