Last week, a federal appeals court upheld an order granting summary judgment to the City of Lincoln, Nebraska in a case involving a prohibition on leafleting activity outside of the city’s basketball arena. In the decision, the court determined that the plaza outside of the arena was a nonpublic forum, and that the city’s regulation met the basic requirement of reasonableness for regulations of speech in a nonpublic forum.
In 2010, Lincoln and the University of Nebraska created a joint agency to redevelop a portion of the city and to construct a new athletic arena for the university’s sports teams. In connection with the redevelopment, new pedestrian areas were constructed, including a plaza immediately outside of the arena. The city entered into a private management agreement allowing a concessionaire to manage and operate the arena and surrounding property. After the arena opened in 2013, the concessionaire, SMG, adopted a policy establishing the plaza outside of the arena as a nonpublic forum, and specifically reserved use of the plaza for tenants of the arena. Other pedestrian areas outside of the plaza were designated for public uses. Continue Reading Eighth Circuit Upholds Lincoln, Nebraska Anti-Leaflet Policy