NH Supreme Court partially affirms Superior Court dismissal in Robin Hood case

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Wanted Robin HoodOn June 9, the NH Supreme Court released the long awaited ruling in the case of City of Keene v. James Cleaveland, et al (aka Robin Hood of Keene). It looks like Robin Hood of Keene is heading back to court for the request for injunctive relief, the rest of the case was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Here are three relevant portions of the decision:

Affirmed:
“[W]e conclude that the trial court correctly determined that enforcing the City’s tortious interference with contractual relations claim would violate the respondents’ First Amendment rights. Given this conclusion, we need not reach the respondents’ argument that the tortious interference claim is also barred by the State Constitution.
Because we hold that the First Amendment bars the City from pursuing its claim for tortious interference with contractual relations, we also conclude that the First Amendment bars the City from pursuing its claim that the respondents are liable for conspiring to commit the very same tort.
The City also argues that the trial court erred when it dismissed the City’s negligence claim. However, the City has failed to develop this argument sufficiently for our review. Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s dismissal of the City’s claims of tortious interference with contractual relations, civil conspiracy, and negligence.”

Vacated and remanded:
“In light of the City’s allegations that the challenged conduct threatens the safety of the PEOs, pedestrians, and the motoring public, and given the testimony of the PEOs at the hearing, we hold that the trial court erred when it failed to consider the particular factual circumstances of the case and whether an injunction should issue based upon the governmental and policy interests asserted by the City. Accordingly, we vacate the trial court’s denial of the City’s request for injunctive relief, and remand for the trial court to address the issue of whether the governmental interests and factual circumstances asserted by the City in its petition are sufficient to warrant properly tailored injunctive relief.”

Conclusion:
“We express no opinion as to whether the City’s allegations, if proven, are sufficient to warrant the trial court’s exercise of its equitable power, or as to whether the particular injunctive relief requested by the City would violate the Federal or State Constitutions. Those are issues for the trial court to address in the first instance.”

The full opinion can be found here