Smyrna settles lawsuit over profanity for $85K - KMSP-TV

Smyrna settles lawsuit over profanity for $85K

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Mary Kirkendoll shows the $85,000 check she received as settlement for a lawsuit from the city of Smyrna. Mary Kirkendoll shows the $85,000 check she received as settlement for a lawsuit from the city of Smyrna.
SMYRNA, Ga. -

The city of Smyrna will pay $85,000 to settle a lawsuit over a curse word.

Back in April of 2009, Mary Kirkendoll voiced her disapproval with the way Smyrna city leaders handled illegal immigration, commercial development and other issues at a town hall meeting. As she left the meeting, she uttered a common profanity.

Police arrested Kirkendoll. According to court paperwork, the arrest came under a Smyrna ordinance making it illegal to use vulgar language in the city.

The charge was dropped. She later filed a federal lawsuit claiming Smyrna falsely arrested her and violated her constitutional rights. The city's insurance company settled for $85,000.

"I hope this sets precedent that people have the right to stand up and especially in this environment, where government needs to be open and listen to the people," said Kirkendoll.

Kirkendoll's attorney, Cynthia Counts, said that the city of Smyrna changed the ordinance which led to Kirkendoll's arrest.
 
Smyrna City Administrator Eric Taylor wouldn't discuss the case other than to say the city was not involved in the insurance carriers' decision to settle the lawsuit for $85,000.

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