A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled today that the city's billboard settlement agreement that allowed 840 digital billboards citywide is invalid.

Superior Court Judge Terry Green ruled that the settlement agreement between the city and billboard giants Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor was invalid because it exempted the digital billboard conversions from any zoning regulations and public hearings. In other words, the city can't legislate away its zoning powers in a lawsuit settlement. The judge called his decision a “slam dunk.”

Still up for debate is the fate of the 101 digital billboards that are currently flashing advertisements all over Los Angeles.

The case, which was filed by Summit Media, sought to void the lawsuit settlement that allowed the billboard giants to convert 840 of their billboards to digital. The suit claimed that the settlement agreement unanimously approved by the City Council violated the constitutional rights of Summit Media and other companies that could not convert their billboards into digital.

The 2006 settlement came about after Clear Channel and CBS Outdoor filed a lawsuit in 2002 challenging an ordinance calling for a periodic inventory and inspection of all billboards in the city.

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