Duval County

Jacksonville man seeking damages for 9-year fight with HOA over American flag

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A $1 million lawsuit is being battled out in court and it all stems from a local veteran wanting to display an American flag.

In 2011, veteran Larry Murphree was told he couldn’t put an American flag in a flower pot outside his home in the Sweetwater condo community.

The story got so much attention that in 2014, he was told to stop talking to the media, which a judge eventually overturned.

On Monday, he returned to court looking for $1 million in damages.

Murphree, an Air Force veteran, took the stand in a courtroom full of supporters on both sides of a case that's gotten national attention.

“This is America, this is a man who served this country. Put his life on the line. He wants to represent the country with a little flag in his yard and he can’t? And he’s brought to court?” Murphree supporter Roger Dodd said.

In 2011, Murphree was fined by his homeowner’s association, saying displaying the flag in the pot was a violation of their rules.

They eventually settled a lawsuit with a settlement agreement.

Attorneys representing the HOA are now suing Murphree for breach of that contract. They said he continued to make disparaging comments about the association despite the agreement.

One of the key points attorneys for the HOA made inside the courthouse was damage to the community's reputation they say came from Murphree's comments in the media.

The HOA attorney questioned Murphree about an interview he did with Fox and Friends.

Murphree is counter suing for breach of contract, claiming the HOA violated the confidentiality portion of the agreement by publishing it.

His attorney also claims they breached the agreement by creating a new “flower pot rule” that banned him from flying his flag.