A lawsuit filed last month against Boone County for blocking a resident from the county’s Facebook page was dismissed this week, according to court documents.
Kevin Dininger claimed the county violated his First Amendment rights when he was blocked from the county government’s page after he commented on an April 14 post about delays on a justice center expansion.
Dininger wrote that he intended to vote for Boone County commissioner candidate Tim Beyer, who challenged and defeated incumbent Tom Santelli in the May 3 Republican primary.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the lawsuit on Dininger’s behalf.
Boone County released a statement on May 24 that said an internal investigation revealed Dininger was inadvertently blocked and that the situation was “rectified.”
Court documents said Dininger has been unblocked from the Facebook page. The county agreed it will not hide or delete comments, ban or block users, or censor comments based on viewpoints.
The county can delete comments that are vulgar, obscene, defamatory, harassing or threatening.
The case was dismissed Tuesday without prejudice, and Dininger and Boone County are responsible for their own costs and attorneys’ fees.
“It was a desired conclusion by all parties,” Boone County spokesperson Noah Alatza said.
The statement issued by the ACLU of Indiana posited that when a government entity opens up a space for public comment, it cannot regulate those comments based upon someone’s viewpoint.
“While we are pleased that the County resolved the issue so promptly, this problem is not exclusive to Boone County,” the statement read. “We hope other government entities and public officials will take notice to avoid further litigation.”