Dardenne drops lawsuit over interstate billboard
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne has dropped his federal lawsuit challenging the use of Louisiana's trademarked tourism slogan "Pick Your Passion" on an organization's billboard promoting Medicaid expansion.
The lawsuit was dismissed late Monday. Dardenne's decision came after a federal judge refused in April to order MoveOn.org to take down the billboard while the lawsuit was pending.
MoveOn.org said Tuesday that it plans to keep the billboard up through at least November, criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal's refusal to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act.
"This billboard in Louisiana will be a constant reminder to Gov. Jindal and Republican officials in the state that we are not backing down until they stop blocking Medicaid," Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, said in a statement.
The group's billboard on Interstate 10 near Baton Rouge reads: "Louisiana! Pick your passion! But hope you don't love your health. Gov. Jindal is denying Medicaid to 242,000 people."
Dardenne sued in March, arguing that MoveOn had no right to use a trademarked marketing slogan in politics.
But in her refusal to order the billboard taken down immediately, U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick suggested Dardenne's lawsuit was a long-shot.
Dick wrote that Dardenne would have to prove that using the slogan would confuse readers about the message's source, affiliation or sponsorship to win the trademark infringement suit.
Dardenne argued that people who saw the billboard would think he or the state was criticizing Jindal.
"In this Court's view, the Lieutenant Governor underestimates the intelligence and reasonableness of people viewing the billboard," Dick wrote in April.