Moakley v. Eastwick

666 N.E.2d 505 (1996)

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Moakley v. Eastwick

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
666 N.E.2d 505 (1996)

SC

Facts

In 1971, John Moakley (plaintiff) created a wall-sized ceramic-tile mural for a church. The mural depicted the history of the Town of East Bridgewater. In 1989, Grace Bible Church Fellowship, Inc. purchased the church. Grace and its pastor, Maurice Eastwick (defendants), found parts of the mural to be religiously objectionable and wished to take down the mural. Due to the size and nature of the mural, it could not be removed without destroying it. Grace began removal of the mural, at which point Moakley was informed and brought suit seeking a permanent injunction. Moakley’s suit was based on the Art Preservation Act, a state law that sought to protect works of art and their connections to their artists. The act prohibited alteration or destruction of a work for the lifetime of the artist plus 50 years. The act went into effect in 1985. The trial court found that the act violated Grace’s constitutional rights. Moakley appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Greaney, J.)

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