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Moot Ordinance Gives the Boot to Prevailing Party Argument

01 May 2003

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance in September of 1997 that prohibits the placement of alcohol and cigarette advertisements in publicly visible places. The Federation of Advertising Industry Representatives, Inc. challenged the ordinance on First Amendment grounds and that the ordinance was preempted by state and federal statutes. On October 31, 2001, the City Council repealed the ordinance based on the Supreme Court™s decision in Lorillard Tobacco Co. v. Reilly, 533 U.S. 525 (2001). Thereafter, the district court granted the City™s motion to dismiss, holding that the repeal of the ordinance rendered the case moot. The Defendant then petitioned the court for attorney™s fees under 42 U.S.C. §1988, alleging it was the prevailing party. The court held that Defendant was not the prevailing party because there was no "judicially sanctioned change in the legal relationship of the parties." Federation of Advertising Industry Reps., Inc. v. Chicago, No. 02-1909, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 7920 (7th Cir. April 25, 2003).

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