Judge takes out parts of mass gathering law.
U.S. District Court Judge Denis Hurley in Central Islip, N.Y., on Sept. 30 struck out parts of the state's mass gathering law as unconstitutional, allowing a case brought by Field Day producers Andrew Dreskin and AEG Live to move forward.
"We are pleased with the court's decision and are moving forward with our case," Dreskin tells Billboard.biz.
The producers had filed suit against New York State, Suffolk County and the city of Riverhead after it was denied permission to put on the two-day festival at Enterprise Park in Riverhead in the summer of 2003.
County officials denied the permit, citing traffic concerns and inadequate police force in Riverhead, then Suffolk County and the state opted not to lend offficers for the event.
Field Day, which had booked such acts as Beastie Boys, Liz Phair, Beck and Radiohead, was moved to Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., as a one-day event with fewer acts (Billboard, June 4), and producers claimed financial losses in excess of $5 million.
In his decision Judge Hurley said the state's mass gathering laws "grant unduly broad discretion to grant or deny permits for expressive activities." But the judge went on to rule that the plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the mass gathering law was unconstitutional in any other respect.
In a separate decision, Hurley denied motions by Suffolk County and Riverhead to dismiss the suit.