Vero Beach Councilman Heady’s First Amendment lawsuit dismissed

VERO BEACH — Federal Judge K. Michael Moore has dismissed Councilman Brian Heady’s lawsuit against the City of Vero Beach for failure to state a claim.

After reading Heady’s amended lawsuit “liberally” due to his pro se status, Judge Moore decided that the suit lacked substantial factual matter.


“A motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim merely tests the sufficiency of the claim, it does not decide the merits of the case,” the ruling states.

Heady’s lawsuit alleged that the City of Vero Beach, and specifically Mayor Kevin Sawnick, had infringed upon his right to free speech, as protected by the First Amendment, and his right to equal protection under the law, as outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment. Heady claimed that the statements and viewpoints of himself and others who are opposed to actions and policies of City Hall were not given their due.

H. Randall Brennan, attorney for the City of Vero Beach, said in an email to that the decision refutes Heady’s claims and that the City has “prevailed.”

“This dismissal is ‘with prejudice’ which means Mr. Heady will not be afforded an opportunity to file another complaint. The lawsuit is ended totally in favor of the City,” Brennan said.

He went on to say that Judge Moore pointed out that Mr. Heady was allowed to ask his questions and that he received answers.

“In other words, Mr. Heady can’t sue the City simply because he didn’t like the answers to his many questions,” Brennan said.

“While most people realize this basic fact, unfortunately, Mr. Heady chose to file an expensive lawsuit which distracted the time and energy of City staff,” Brennan said in his email.

Heady said he was not shocked, but instead disappointed upon hearing the news. He had not yet received a copy of the motion as he receives documents related to the case in the U.S. Mail.

“I guess freedom of speech doesn’t exist in Indian River County, it comes as no surprise to me,” Heady said.

Heady was preparing to go on the air to broadcast his television show when he was informed of the decision and said he would comment later after having read the motion.




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