Appellate Law – Civil

Injunctive Relief

Dillon v. City of Erie, PICS Case No. 14-0022 (Pa. Commonw. Jan. 7, 2014) Pellegrini, J. (16 pages).

Justin Dillon appealed the order of the Court of Common Pleas of Erie County denying his request for a preliminary injunction. Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part.

In April 2013, Dillon applied to hold a pro-firearms rally in the City of Erie; Dillon held prior rallies where he possessed firearms at said rallies. When Dillon applied for the rally at issue in the case, the City’s solicitor informed him that neither he nor any person would be permitted to carry firearms during that rally pursuant to city ordinance Section 955.06(b) prohibiting hunting and the use or possession of firearms in city parks. In May 2013, Dillon filed a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief to prevent the City’s enforcement arguing the City’s ordinances and proposed actions are preempted by Section 6120(a) of the Uniform Firearms Act. The trial court denied Dillon’s preliminary injunction ruling he failed to establish he would prevail on the merits as Section 6120(a) did not clearly preempt the city ordinance Section 955.06. Further Dillon’s argument for injunctive relief under lost or stolen guns lacked standing as Dillon failed to enumerate any firearms were lost or stolen. Dillon appealed.

The appeals court found the trial court erred determining Section 6120(a) preempted Section 995.06(b) in the regulations of firearms in its parks. Because Section 6120(a) prohibited the City from regulating firearm possession, Dillon met the “injury” standard of a preliminary injunction reasoning that had he violated the city ordinance, he would have faced prosecution which constituted irreparable injury. The court held the injunction was reasonably suited to abate the offending activity by enjoining the enforcement of the unlawful ordinance; and the injunction did not adversely affect the public.

As the rally had already occurred, the appeals court could not grant an injunction for the rally, but reversed the trial court and remanded the matter for direction to enter an order granting Dillon’s request for a preliminary injunction enjoining the enforcement of Section 955.06(b) and to dispose of his request for a permanent injunction in accordance with the opinion. However, the appeals court found the trial court did not err in ruling Dillon lacked standing regarding lost or stolen firearms as Dillon failed to indicate any such loss or theft occurred.