Port Authority reaches settlement with atheist-friendly group over advertising
The Port Authority of Allegheny County agreed to pay $20,000 plus legal fees to settle a lawsuit by a group that wanted to run an ad on buses seeking people who don't believe in God.
The settlement, made public in federal court documents filed on Wednesday, doesn't allow United Coalition of Reason Inc. of Washington to run its ad but should lead to a more consistent enforcement by the authority of its advertising policy, said Fred Edwords, the coalition's national director.
“We'll be watching, and we'll be seeing if they apply the rules fairly,” he said.
Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie said the agency settled to avoid further costs and the uncertainty of litigation.
The coalition, which helps local atheist, agnostic and other nontheist groups gain visibility, sued the authority when it rejected an ad that said, “Don't believe in God? You are not alone,” and included the website of a local affiliate.
Edwords said one reason the coalition sued is that after the authority rejected its ad, it allowed others to run similar ads that violated the advertising policy. The coalition preferred a settlement allowing it to run the ad but thinks fair enforcement of the policy is a good result, Edwords said.
The court will decide how much the authority owes the coalition in legal fees, he said.
In notices filed by lawyers for both sides, the authority denies liability on the coalition's claim that it violated the group's civil rights.
If the coalition had rejected the offer and gone to trial, the rules for federal lawsuits would have barred it from collecting legal expenses accrued after the offer date unless a jury awarded more than $20,000 in damages.
Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers wrap lackluster preseason with loss to Panthers
- Young adults drive home rental trend in Western Pennsylvania
- August Wilson Center’s financial woes leave little guys in a lurch
- Penguins confident Pouliot will be healthy, ready for camp
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell faces former team, hurts leg
- Man stabbed to death outside North Side grocery
- Preseason valuable for Steelers’ offensive line
- LaBar: Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts reportedly hospitalized
- Government approves compromise on Corbett’s alternative Medicaid plan
- New Ken-Arnold board asked to mediate between football groups
- DEP releases details of cases of drinking well contamination from drilling