In a somewhat entertaining case out of Boardman Township, Ohio, the state court of appeals has ruled that a business called “Broke Ass Phone” may display its sign under the Boardman Township zoning ordinance, which otherwise prohibits obscene or offensive signs.
Broke Ass Phone is a company that specializes in repairing broken smartphones and other devices. In 2015, the company applied for a sign permit in Boardman to allow the company to post its business sign. The township zoning inspector denied the permit application, finding that it violated the township code provision prohibiting obscene signs. The applicant then appealed the decision to the township’s Board of Zoning Appeals. In 2017, the board denied the appeal. The company then appealed the denial to the local common pleas court, asserting First Amendment arguments. The common pleas court affirmed the decision of the zoning appeals board, and the company appealed to the state appeals court.