Booted for Bad Language, Banned Patron Sues Library

Another ridiculous law suit is going to be tying up the federal court system and costing the taxpayers money because some clown thinks he's above the rules. Fredric Maxwell, the guy who was banned from the Ann Arbor (MI) Public Library for excessively using obscene language, is suing the library in federal court for $115,000 and other "unspecified damages." He also wants a full-page apology in several newspapers. He thinks his rights were violated. What about the rights of the other people to not have to listen to his garbage? He is acting as his own attorney. Of course, if he were to win, this would establish a whole new precedent as far as what patrons "think" they are allowed to get away with. Who wants more headaches? Read More.


That is yet another reason this country needs tort reform. Even the foul mouthed plaintiff noted that it is a unneeded expense for the library to pay its attorney to defend this suit.

We should go to a loser pays system in which when the library wins, which I have no doubt it will, this goofball will have to foot the library's bill as well as his own legal costs.

Of couse he is acting as his own attorney. I wonder if he will curse in the law library when doing his research? Of course the fool for a client axiom applies here.

If I see this clown at ALA I'm going to spill my coffee on him. (He'll probably sue, but I'm a librarian I'll give you my six bucks now and save you the trouble of seizing my assets.)

Where are his manners and civilised behaviour? Doesn't he know he is in the wrong? In the old days, his tongue would have been cut out, exorcised, burnt at the stake! To his logic, I have the right to call him "f***ing idiot" whenever I want to and he couldn't deny me that right!! But then he would say I would be violating his rights!!

What a fantastic country we live in, you have the right to be an ass and you're willing to exercise that right.

One would think that common decency would prevail and you would refrain from doing whatever you want, whenever you want simply because you can. (You know - like having an intern perform sex acts on you because you could.)

But alas, decorum and decency are relics of the past in this country. Of course you are completely wrong about unbridled freedom of speech. The common good and public order often trump individual free speech rights. Yelling obscenities at the library staff is contrary to public order. The test of the library's fairness will be his lawsuit, but I'm afraid when he loses we will be subjected to diatribes about how he was wronged. People who twist the Constitution for their own benefit are seldom pleased when the rule of law comes down against them.

If I wasn't already commenting I'd moderate that as super-funny, and moderate myself as super-cynical. :)

Of course, none of us know all the particulars of the case, since we weren't there when the incidents occurred. However, it doesn't appear to me that the issue with him being banned was his foul language so much as his abusive behavior toward staff. Do library users have the right to be verbally abusive to staff? I think it's a matter of degree. I've worked at a large, urban public library and seen some crazy behavior from users. I think that someone could be banned from the library after he has repeatedly been abusive and escalated to the point where he can't be appeased by staff...especially if he is doing it loudly and disturbing other users.

Yes, he is wrong. The First Amendment does not allow you to say whatever you want whenever you want. Think of hate speech, think of yelling "fire" in a theatre. Think of slander, libel and verbal abuse.Also, even a public venue has the right to place limits on behavior. Obviously from the article even the police agreed the Library was correct in banning Mr. Maxwell so obviously this was more than someone being offended at the "f.." word.By the way, whatever happened to knowing how to behave in a public place? I guess there are no laws to cover that, but frankly, as an employee dealing with the public I have to say that I don't feel people have the right to say whatever they want to me in whatever abusive manner they think is acceptable.

But is this man wrong? Does he not deserve the right to spew what ever garbage he chooses to? With a Library being a Public building? what next, Shhhhh no political discussions within a library! Get out! How Dare you pontificate about religious freedom.*shrug*Sure you might not approve of his language ... but he does have the right to use whatever language he chooses. If I want, I can stand someplace and scream "F*CK" "F*CK" "F*CK" over and over again.If it was only due to foul langauge that he was ejected, then I'd say his case has legs, if its due to other reasons as well *meh*Free speech is good! even if you don't like what is being said.

Legitimate suits win! :)

This is ridiculous. I'm reminded of the old saw that "He who is his own attorney has a fool for a client."

The problem with 'loser pays' is that it discourages legitimate suits as well as non. I would rather see some type of example made by the judge in a case like this where a person has to sit a few days in jail for filing such a frivolous lawsuit. If a person really believes their in the right they'll risk a week in the clink.

A public library is a PUBLIC building and as such is protected by applicable federal, state, and municipal laws. According to the Ann Arbor Michigan City Code, Disorderly Conduct, Chapter 108, Section 9.62(10) Persist in disturbing the public peace and quiet by loud or aggressive conduct, having once been clearly informed by persons affected that he is, in fact, unreasonably causing such a disturbance, provided, however, that notice need not be given when such persons affected reasonably believe that to do so would constitute a risk to their personal safety. The patron was previously warned about his behavior and engaged in two other violations after that. This being the case I don't see any reason that the above code doesn't apply to him. I dare you to find any city in the U.S. which doesn't have such a law in their books.

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