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Eagle Books, Inc. v. Jones

OPINION FILED JANUARY 30, 1985.

EAGLE BOOKS, INC., D/B/A URBANA NEWS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

RICHARD M. JONES ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. George S. Miller, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE MILLS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Pornography is, at best, a seamy business.

But as distasteful as it may be to most of us, it is still legal to traffic in it — at least as of this writing.

Eagle Books/Urbana News is an adult bookstore. It filed a complaint on August 3, 1984, seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief from certain picketing activities which defendants conducted at plaintiff's business premises. On August 7, 1984, a hearing was held, and the circuit court preliminarily enjoined defendants from trespassing on plaintiff's business premises and from blocking access to the business.

However, the court denied the bookstore's request that defendants be enjoined from harassing and intimidating its patrons and employees through the use of shouts, verbal abuse, and through the taking of photographs or license plate numbers, or the threatened taking of photographs or license plate numbers. Plaintiff's requests that the number of picketers be limited and that they be restrained from interfering with traffic in front of plaintiff's store were also denied.

The bookstore now brings this interlocutory appeal from that part of the court's order which denied portions of its request for preliminary injunctive relief.

We affirm.

The complaint stated that plaintiff owns and operates an adult bookstore and arcade located at the corner of Cunningham Avenue and Park Street in Urbana. Parking is available on three sides of the store, and a public sidewalk is located along Cunningham Avenue, approximately 20 to 30 feet from the store.

The complaint alleged that defendants had engaged in picketing activities at plaintiff's business premises since late June 1984. The number of picketers had ranged from four to 20, with the picketing being conducted mainly during the lunch hour on weekdays, during the evenings on weekdays, and on Saturdays.

Plaintiff attached to its complaint two newspaper articles which contained statements alleged to have been made by defendants indicating that the purpose of the picketing was to force plaintiff to close its store by discouraging patrons from entering the premises. Defendant Richard Jones was quoted as stating that "anybody who does not want their picture taken had better not come here."

Plaintiff alleged that the defendants had been harassing and intimidating its patrons, potential patrons, and employees by taking photographs, threatening to take photographs, threatening to publish photographs, taking license plate numbers, threatening to take license plate numbers, shouting, and verbal abuse. Several specific incidents were alleged, including one involving a patron towards whom the defendants had directed a chant while he was in the store, and another involving derogatory comments by a picketer directed at a female employee. The plaintiff also alleged that one patron shoved a picketer who "jumped" in front of him to take his picture. Numerous trespasses were also alleged. It was alleged that the number of picketers was such that entry into plaintiff's parking area was impeded and discouraged. Plaintiff also claimed that traffic on Cunningham Avenue was interfered with.

Plaintiff alleged "numerous" calls to the Urbana police department with no resulting charges. It further complained of a substantial loss of revenue during the period in which the picketing had been conducted. Plaintiff sought preliminary and permanent injunctive relief from the activities of the defendants.

On August 7, 1984, defendants filed an "Objection to Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction." They claimed therein that the allegations in the complaint were insufficient to support the issuance of a preliminary injunction.

Also on August 7, 1984, a hearing was held on plaintiff's request for a preliminary injunction. After the hearing, the court enjoined the defendants from trespassing and from blocking access to plaintiff's premises. However, all other aspects of plaintiff's request for preliminary injunctive relief were denied. Plaintiff subsequently filed timely notice ...


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