ACLU-MN sought to protect the right to freedom of expression in manufactured home parks
In 2004, All Parks Alliance for Change sued Uniprop Manufactured Housing Communities Income Fund for their right to distribute leaflets and flyers that educated residents about their rights in a manufactured housing community. The ACLU of Minnesota filed an amicus curiae brief in the Minnesota Supreme Court to protect the right to freedom of expression in manufactured home parks.
The case initially involved lower court rulings which upheld rules governing canvassing in a park. Had the rules been analyzed in a First Amendment context, the ACLU of Minnesota believes that they would have been found invalid.The ACLU of Minnesota brief pointed out the unique situation faced by park residents who generally own their manufactured but only rent the land the homes sit on. Residents are often in a precarious legal situation and could stand to lose their investment if they are not fully informed of their legal rights. The ACLU of Minnesota also pointed out the negative implication of the rules on other groups who wish to spread their message to residents, including political canvassers and charitable groups seeking to spread their messages.
On May 24, 2007, the Minnesota Supreme Court affirmed a lower court decision, which held that the limits placed on noncommercial speech within a manufactured hom park are reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions under the statute in question. More about this opinion can be read in the following press release: Minnesota Supreme Court Decision Hinders Free Speech.