Los Angeles’ oft-disputed billboards ban remains intact after the California Supreme Court opted Friday not to review a March appellate court ruling upholding the statute.
The high court’s decision essentially sounds the death knell for billboard company Lamar Central Outdoor’s argument that sign regulations infringed on its free speech rights. The law has been challenged numerous times since the City Council voted in 2002 to ban “off-site signs,” which refer to signs advertising products or services not available at the sign’s actual location.
The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, which has aggressively pursued billboards deemed in violation of the ban, hailed the court’s decision as a final victory over advertisers.
“This was billboard company Lamar’s last gasp in its attack on Los Angeles’ billboard ban,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “Now the Supreme Court has made clear our billboard ban stands.”
The company’s attorney, Century City-based Michael Wright declined to comment.
Litigation over billboards in Los Angeles has been widespread since the ban was implemented. Lamar’s efforts to overturn the statute were stymied on multiple times in federal court before a Los Angeles County Superior Court trial judge sided with the company in 2014. In March, that victory turned to ashes as a panel of three judges from the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles overturned the trial court ruling. The appellate court cited a deep pool of federal and state court case law in its ruling on the case.
Lamar’s case initially challenged the city’s denial of their 2013 petition to retrofit 45 billboards with digital technology in neighborhoods across Los Angeles.