Iowa Town Attempts To Sue Man For Calling City Stinky And Loses

A town in Iowa attempted to sue a man for blogging on his website about the rancid smell in his hometown, only to lose the lawsuit.

By WKBW on March 30, 2018
iowa
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A town in Iowa attempted to sue a man for saying that his hometown, Sibley, smelled like “rancid dog food.”

This is so great: Sibley officials lost. Josh Harms, 28, won the free-speech lawsuit on Thursday, Mar. 29. The judge also ordered that city officials stop threatening Josh and awarded him damages.

Sibley officials originally threatened to sue Josh if he didn’t stop talking about the city’s odor problem. The smell comes from Iowa Drying and Processing. The company makes a high protein animal supplement from pig’s blood, reports ABC News.

The company moved to a building in Sibley in 2013, and Josh began writing about the smell on his website in 2015. Sibley attorneys started threatening Josh with a lawsuit, saying his website was hurting the town’s reputation.

Josh got a permanent injunction from the judge on Thursday. It says the city can no longer send threats and that Josh is free to talk to the press and publish articles on the smell. Josh also won $6,500 in damages and $20,000 in legal fees. In addition, the city issued a written apology and the the city staff needs to attend a First Amendment training session.

Josh, a web designer, bought the rights to a website called “sibleystinks.com,” but hasn’t launched it yet. He hopes that he can help residents of Sibley by calling attention to the community’s problems.

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