Appeals court takes cap off Michigan beer dispute involving free speech, controversial label

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DETROIT — An appeals court has ordered a federal judge to reopen a dispute over a beer that was temporarily banned by Michigan liquor commissioners.

The court says commissioners aren't immune to a lawsuit by Flying Dog Brewery, based in Frederick, Maryland. The brewery claims its First Amendment rights were violated when the Liquor Control Commission rejected an ale with a name that's offensive to some people, Raging B----.

The ban was lifted in 2011 after 18 months due to a U.S. Supreme Court decision in a different case. The brewery says it lost money during the time the label was prohibited.

The decision Friday means the case will return to federal court in Grand Rapids.

Appeals court Judge Karen Nelson Moore says it's clear that Flying Dog's rights were violated.

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