Los Angeles City Attorney, Carmen Trutanich, is suing artist Michael McNeilly and 21 other property owners who allowed McNeilly to put up illegal signs on their properties, including at least one who received city loans and subsidies.

Supergraphics are pictures, such as the one displayed, that are meant to catch attention based on their incredible, "super," size. The potential problem, however, is that because they are so large, and in this case maintained on buildings, rather than billboards, they can be distracting to drivers, and may also potentially violate zoning, nuisance, and fire hazard laws.

These newly filed lawsuits come on the heels of a recent decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the issue.

The district court had ruled that the City's ban on the supergraphics was unconstitutional, since it acted to stifle artistic expression, which is one of the forms of speech (impliedly) protected under the First Amendment's Freedom of Expression Clause.

The Ninth Circuit, however, overturned the lower court's decision, but ruling that the City could legally ban the signs. Presumably due to the health & safety concerns, and according to the principles of the Time, Place & Manner restrictions, consistently held up by courts as legitimate restrictions on free speech.

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