Lawsuit In Works Challenging Clayton Smoking Ban in Public Parks

Categories: Smoking Bans
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Live in Clayton and hate the smoking ban in parks? Call this guy at 314-726-2322.
The 25-page complaint against the city of Clayton is already written and ready to be filed in federal court. All attorney Bevis Schock needs now is a couple more plaintiffs.

"I have one person confirmed, but would like to add one or two more," says the Clayton lawyer and frequent critic of red-light cameras and other government action he believes violate civil rights and personal freedoms.

And, for Schock, few regulations are as galling as the amendment to the Clayton smoking ban prohibiting smoking in public parks.

"While there is some scientific debate over the matter of whether second-hand smoke is harmful to those indoors, there's absolutely no rational bases for extending the ban outdoors to public parks," says Schock.

In a January 12 advertisement in the West End Word, Schock solicited plaintiffs for his lawsuit by stating that the Clayton ordinance "seems to violate constitutional rights" and "infringes on ancient American traditions involving the pursuit of happiness, sending a message of peace, questioning authority and protesting overreaching government."

"Yes, I'm talking peace pipes," Schock tells Daily RFT. "This extends way beyond the beginnings of this country."

Schock, a cigar smoker, says his advertisement failed to bring in one client, even though he's clear that he won't charge the plaintiffs a dime. He plans to have Clayton pick up the legal tab once a court throws out the smoking ban in parks.

His other efforts have also failed to bring in the ideal plaintiff -- a Clayton resident or,  at the very least, someone who works in the city.

Speculates Schock: "Most people who live in Clayton are pretty established and don't want their name associated with a controversial issue, even if it's one they oppose. There's also a class aspect to it. Smoking used to be associated with the wealthy. Now it's more often associated with the poor."

And, one might add, the disenfranchised.

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Jalaine Wheeler
Jalaine Wheeler

Exposure to second hand smoke is harmful no matter where it is. Public parks are mostly frequented by families with children. As an asthmatic and mother, I don't want to have to leave a public park because someone is allowed to pollute the air with environmental pollutants from cigarette smoke. Maybe the reason he hasn't found another plantiff is because the majority of people feel the same way? No one should have to be exposed to second hand smoke, no matter where they are, including a public park. It absolutely galls me that the Zoo and Grants Farm allow smoking in their parks which cater to families and children.


"His other efforts have also failed to bring in the ideal plaintiff -- a Clayton resident or, at the very least, someone who works in the city." I don't think this is accurate.

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