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Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction – Civil Rights – Race Discrimination Claim – Constitutional – Black Bike Week – Traffic Pattern

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//June 5, 2019

Civil Practice – Preliminary Injunction – Civil Rights – Race Discrimination Claim – Constitutional – Black Bike Week – Traffic Pattern

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//June 5, 2019

Even though African-Americans appear to be disparately impacted by a traffic loop that is put in place for Myrtle Beach’s Atlantic Beach Bikefest (Black Bike Week), plaintiffs have not shown that defendants’ use of the traffic loop is the result of any discriminatory intent. Defendants imposed the traffic pattern on both Black Bike Week and the mostly white Harley Week, but Harley Week participants responded by boycotting Harley Week, thus making the traffic loop unnecessary during that week. Plaintiffs have not shown that the decision-makers in this case acted out of discriminatory animus.

Plaintiffs have not clearly established the extraordinary circumstances required to entitle them to the extraordinary remedy of a preliminary injunction at this juncture.

Plaintiffs have failed to clearly establish their claim of a historical background of discrimination here. The decision to enact the traffic loop was made by a host of decision-makers. Defendants were two of many. The court must defer to defendants’ value judgments on matters of public safety.

Plaintiffs have not established any contemporary statements indicating any racial animosity on the part of the task force formed to address the public safety problems arising during Black Bike Week.

Plaintiffs have thus failed to show that they are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim of a constitutional violation.

Plaintiffs contend, “The traffic loop effectively traps attendees in or near their hotels in the evening, because getting back to the hotel by car will be so arduous.” “Thus, if not enjoined,” plaintiffs say, “the loop will seriously disrupt Plaintiffs’ enjoyment of Black Bike Week.”

If established, a prospective violation of a constitutional right constitutes irreparable injury. But plaintiffs have failed to establish such a violation. As to plaintiffs’ claims of inconvenience, such claims, without a showing of racial animus, are not properly before the court.

Furthermore, plaintiffs waited until three years after defendants instituted the traffic loop to file this lawsuit. This also cuts against plaintiffs’ claim of irreparable harm.

Plaintiffs have failed to clearly establish that they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief.

In balancing the equities, the court is of the opinion that defendants would be prejudiced if the court enjoined the traffic loop, one of their public safety measures. Thus, the court cannot find that plaintiffs have clearly established that the balance of equities tips in their favor.

Finally, weighing plaintiffs’ alleged injuries against defendants’ public safety concerns, the court concludes that the public interest is best served if defendants are allowed to go forward with the traffic loop for Black Bike Week.

Motion denied.

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Inc. v. City of Myrtle Beach (Lawyers Weekly No. 002-032-19, 23 pp.) (Mary Geiger Lewis, J.) 4:18-cv-00554. Peter Wilborn, Angela Groves, Dorian Lawrence Spence, Joseph Rich , Khyla Danielle Craine, Laura Gaztambide-Arandes, Maryum Jamal Jordan, Reed Colfax, Ryan Downer and Tara K Ramchandani for plaintiffs; James Richard Battle and Michael Warner Battle for defendants. D.S.C.

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