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Drewes Farms Partnership v. City of Toledo

441 F. Supp. 3d 551 (2020)

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Drewes Farms Partnership v. City of Toledo

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

441 F. Supp. 3d 551 (2020)

Facts

After water pollution in Lake Erie contaminated drinking water in Toledo, Ohio (the city) (defendant), Toledo residents drafted a proposed municipal ordinance known as the Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR). A special election was held, resulting in a majority of voters approving LEBOR, and the ordinance was added to Toledo’s city charter. LEBOR purported to grant Lake Erie and the Lake Erie watershed the right to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve, and it purported to grant Toledo residents the right to clean and healthy water as well as the right to self-government. LEBOR also purported to criminalize the infringement of these rights by businesses or governments. LEBOR did not define the meanings of the rights it purported to grant. Drewes Farms Partnership (Drewes Farms) (plaintiff), a farming operation that grew crops in four counties near Toledo, sued the city, and the State of Ohio (plaintiff) intervened. Both Drewes Farms and Ohio asked the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio to invalidate LEBOR because it was unconstitutionally vague. After determining that both Drewes Farms and Ohio had standing to bring the lawsuit, the court considered the validity of LEBOR.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Zouhary, J.)

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