Today, the Georgia Supreme Court refused to hear Stanley Hambrick’s appeal in which he sought to have himself and other street vendors to return to Turner Field.
Now it is up to Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta City Council to decided whether or not to change their vending laws to allow the dozens of street vendors and their employees who previously worked outside of Turner Field, to again sell outside the stadium.
Three days before opening day in 2013, Atlanta officials forced all vendors off the streets. In response, Hambrick sued and the Fulton County Superior Court ordered the officials to accept vending applications and issue permits. When those officials refused to obey that court order, Hambrick asked the court to find those officials in contempt and recognize Atlanta street vendors’ right to return to work. The court denied those motions and Hambrick appealed.
“For almost an entire month Atlanta’s officials refused to follow an order requiring them to let the vendors return to work,” said attorney Robert Frommer of the Institute for Justice, which represents the vendors. “It is unfortunate that the Georgia Supreme Court chose not to take this opportunity to protect both the vendors’ constitutional rights and the rule of law.”
Although the Court’s decision today brings a close to Hambrick’s lawsuit, it opens a new chapter in the fight for Atlanta’s street vendors, attorney Frommer said. Katrina Taylor Parks, deputy chief of staff for Mayor Reed, told the Atlanta City Council that the administration was planning to bring vending back to Turner Field but that the ongoing litigation was keeping it from moving forward.
“For over a year, Atlanta’s baseball vendors have been unable to provide for themselves and their families by working at their traditional locations,” said Larry Miller, president of the Atlanta Vendors Association. “The Atlanta Vendors Association looks forward to working with the administration to end this stalemate and bring sidewalk vending back to The Ted.”