Appeals Court Allows Liquor Ads in Cleveland

CHICAGO A federal appeals court yesterday struck down a Cleveland ordinance banning most billboard advertising of alcoholic beverages in the city.

The 6th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling that the advertising restrictions infringed on freedom of speech and were already restricted under state law, which allows alcohol ads on billboards not located close to churches, schools or playgrounds.

National advertising agency Eller Media Co. sued to block the Cleveland ordinance it deemed unconstitutional. Local supporters, however, said the ordinance was designed to curb underage drinking and said advertisers were promoting their alcohol brands in alcohol abuse neighborhoods.

The higher court agreed with Eller and concluded, “the range of communications restricted by the ordinance also seems unduly broad.”

It was not known if the city of Cleveland was going to appeal the Appellate decision.