A federal judge sided with the town of Pittsfield in its decision to order a trailer painted in support of former President Trump be removed from a property on Catamount Road.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante filed the written decision on Friday.
Pittsfield resident Joseph McCoy filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the town, which ordered his 52-foot storage trailer painted in large letters, “TRUMP! USA” be removed from the property.
The town argued it did not apply its zoning ordinance in an unconstitutionally vague manner and did not violate his First Amendment rights, the order reads.
The town has an ordinance setting time limits on how long such a trailer can be parked on one’s property.
“Summary judgment is appropriate because McCoy cannot ‘point to specific, competent evidence’ that town officials discriminated against him based on the expressive content on his trailer,” the decision reads.
McCoy’s attorney, Robert Fojo, called the decision “grossly incorrect and fails to follow applicable law” in an email Monday afternoon.
He plans to ask Laplante to reconsider and then file an appeal.
Pittsfield Select Board Chairman Jim Allard said Monday after being flexible and allowing time extensions for the removal, the Select Board finally required McCoy to move it in 2018, and he did so.
Almost two years later, McCoy filed the lawsuit.
Allard said there was no political or free speech element to the board’s decision.
“Some members of the board who hadn’t traveled that road weren’t even aware that it had the sign on it,” he said. “The message had no bearing whatsoever.”
The Select Board had twice extended a permit for the trailer to be used as storage.
“It seemed like somebody had an idea well after the fact, ‘Hey let’s sue the town and see what happens,’” Allard said.
Allard said the town’s insurance carrier provided legal services for the case.
“This was only a First Amendment case in the manner in which Mr. McCoy raised the issue,” Allard said. “I can tell you with certainty that after the trailer was removed. It was replaced with numerous political signs on his property, about which nobody said anything.
“Speaking for myself, I see this as absolutely frivolous and just a waste of the community’s time, effort and potentially resources. I’m very glad this is in the rearview mirror.”
McCoy does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment.