Judge Allows Chick-fil-A Lawsuit to Proceed

Contact: Mike Knuffke
Phone: 210-928-7232
Email: mike@SanAntonioFamilyAssociation.com

(San Antonio, Texas) January 10, 2020 – A Bexar County district judge ruled Thursday, January 9, that a lawsuit brought against the City of San Antonio over its decision to ban Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio airport may proceed.

The lawsuit was prompted by the San Antonio city council’s decision in March of last year to ban Chick-fil-A from operating at the San Antonio airport. At the council meeting that took place March 21, 2019, Councilmember Manny Pelaez announced that he would vote to exclude Chick-fil-A from the airport because it “has been funding anti-LGBTQ organizations.” 

In response to this episode, the Texas legislature enacted Senate Bill 1978, popularly known as the “Save Chick-fil-A law,” in June which prohibits governmental entities from taking “adverse action” against individuals or corporations based wholly or partly on their support for a religious organization. 

In September 2019, five residents of the San Antonio area sued the city under this new statute, and are seeking an injunction that would require the city to install a Chick-fil-A restaurant at the San Antonio airport, consistent with the original plan proposed by SAT Airport concessionaire, Paradies Lagardère.

During the hearing, the City of San Antonio moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the plaintiffs lacked standing and sought to apply Senate Bill 1978 retroactively. Judge David Canales rejected each of these arguments and held that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit against the city may proceed. 

“This is a major win for religious liberty and for the rule of law,” says lead plaintiff Patrick Von Dohlen. “Senate Bill 1978 clearly and unequivocally prohibits the continued exclusion of Chick-fil-A from the San Antonio airport. We’re grateful Judge Canales rejected the city’s efforts to dismiss the lawsuit.” 

“In an effort to protect, defend and promote the family, this is a significant ruling,” adds Plaintiff Michael Knuffke. “The merits of this case will foster the protection of a person, business and business owner’s liberty.”

Neel Lane, an attorney representing the city, stated he was “disappointed” with the judge’s ruling. 

The case is Von Dohlen, et al. v. City of San Antonio, No. 2019CI18637.