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Cabral v. City of Evansville, Indiana

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

June 25, 2014

CHRIS CABRAL and NANCY TARSITANO, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
CITY OF EVANSVILLE, INDIANA, Defendant, APPEAL OF: WEST SIDE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, Intervenor-Appellant

Argued February 18, 2014

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Evansville Division. No. 13-CV-139 -- Sarah Evans Barker, Judge.

For Chris Cabral, Nancy Tarsitano, Plaintiffs - Appellees: Gavin M. Rose, Attorney, Aclu of Indiana, Indianapolis, IN.

For City of Evansville, Defendant: Keith W. Vonderahe, Attorney, Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel & Shoulders, Evansville, IN.

For West Side Christian Church, Intervenor - Appellant: Bryan H. Beauman, Attorney, Sturgill Turner Barker & Moloney, Pllc, Lexington, KY; Michael J. Cork, Attorney, Bamberger, Foreman, Oswald & Hahn, Indianapolis, IN.

Before ROVNER, WILLIAMS, and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 640

Williams, Circuit Judge.

Seeking a permit, the West Side Christian Church (" West Side" ) applied to the City of Evansville, Indiana, to set up its " Cross the River" display, which consisted of thirty-one, six-feet tall decorated crosses on four blocks of the City's public Riverfront. After Evansville approved the application, residents Chris Cabral and Nancy Tarsitano filed suit against Evansville seeking an injunction to stop the display from being erected, claiming that it violated their First Amendment rights. The district court agreed and ordered the City permanently enjoined from permitting the erection of West Side's display on the Riverfront. Here, the City does not appeal, but West Side, which was an intervenor in the district court action, does. We need not reach the merits of West Side's arguments, however, because West Side does not have standing to bring the appeal. We cannot redress any injury West Side might have suffered because Evansville is not party to this appeal and

Page 641

could prohibit the display's erection regardless of any order we issue. And, any First Amendment injury West Side might have suffered from the injunction was not fairly traceable to, or caused by, Evansville. Since West Side does not have standing, we dismiss the appeal.

I. BACKGROUND

On April 30, 2013, West Side submitted a " Right-Of-Way" permit application to the Evansville City Engineer's Office seeking permission to erect thirty-one plastic crosses on the Riverfront. The Riverfront is a public area located in Evansville' s downtown overlooking the Ohio River and is approximately a mile and a half in length, with a widened sidewalk. Evansville has in the past approved public displays on the Riverfront, including carousel horse, fish and butterfly sculptures, among other artwork.

West Side's permit originally sought to erect crosses that were six feet tall, nearly four feet wide and decorated by children attending Bible school with the words " Jesus Saves" on them. The crosses were going to be ...


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