First Amendment - Anti-SLAPP - California Constitution - grpub.net

First Amendment

In Masterpiece Cakeshop Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the Court confronted the issue of whether the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment permits a business owner to refuse service to individuals – in violation of a state anti-discrimination...
The Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled part of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act invalid on Friday. Judge Robert Cleland struck down provisions of the Sex Offender Registry Act due to vagueness, strict liability and violations of the First Amendment. The provisions that were struck down for vagueness included sections of the law that prohibited registered sex offenders from working within a student safety zone, prohibited registered sex offenders loitering in student safety zones, and required registered sex offenders to report all phone numbers that they routinely use to law enforcement officials. In addition, the provisions of the Act that made sex offenses strict liability crimes was struck down due to violating constitutional due process requirements. Lastly, the provisions requiring sex offenders to report all telephone numbers, electronic mail addresses and instant message addresses was struck down for violating the First…
5th Circuit Dismisses Street Preacher's Suit Over Summons - February 15, 2020 - Howard Friedman
In Roy v. City of Monroe, (5th Cir., Feb. 13, 2020), the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a suit by a street preacher who was issued a summons, but then acquitted, of disturbing the peace. He then sued the police and the city of Monroe, Louisiana for violation of his free speech and free exercise as well as for other violations.  The 5th Circuit summarized it conclusions:[T]he city of Monroe’s “disturbing the peace” ordinance is not unconstitutionally vague; that, because Sergeant Booth had probable cause to issue a summons under the ordinance, he was entitled to qualified immunity from Roy’s First Amendment retaliation claim; and that, in the light of these holdings, Roy cannot prevail on his claims under the Fourth Amendment and Due Process Clause.AP reports on the decision.
Ed. Note: In light of a significant ruling out of Michigan, Guy Hamilton-Smith has been kind enough to do a guest post. Today marks the end–at least of a chapter–of a nearly decade-long legal saga over Michigan’s sex offender registry. Judge Robert Cleland, federal District Judge for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted that which the Michigan ACLU sought: a permanent injunction prohibiting a number of things, including the enforcement in toto of Michigan’s sex offense registration scheme to anyone who had committed an offense prior to 2011. A bit of background. Four years ago, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Does v. Snyder (Does I) issued a stinging opinion striking down several aspects of Michigan’s registry as unconstitutional, capping litigation that originally began in 2012. Judge Alice Batchelder, one of the more conservative judges on the Sixth Circuit, offered the following in concluding that the registry was unconstitutional on…
Leaving Dysfunction To Others - February 15, 2020 - SHG
Knowing that it was going to be a contender for Best Picture at the Oscars, Dr. SJ and I watched The Joker. Sure, we appreciated the acting, but neither of us liked the movie. We didn’t enjoy it. We wouldn’t watch it again. We wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. Had we not watched it, our lives would not have been any less “rich.” Stories about dysfunctional people, miserable lives, unhappiness, seem to be of great interest. Why? Maybe people see themselves in these dysfunctional people, but I don’t. Asking around about something to watch, many people pointed at a series called “Fleabag.” about a miserable young woman who manages to find, if not create, problems wherever she goes. Is this you? It’s not me. It’s not Dr. SJ. It’s not our children. It’s not someone I would want to know, and it’s certainly not someone I want to watch on the television. Maybe we’re an utterly boring couple and…
[Canine due process, feline endangerment, and civil contempt.] Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice. After Muhammad Tanvir declined the FBI's requests to spy on fellow Muslims, the feds (among other threatening and harassing behavior) put him on the No-Fly List for several years, which cost him his job and prevented him from visiting his family in Pakistan. He sued, and on the eve of an important hearing, the gov't removed him from the list. Next month, the Supreme Court will consider whether Tanvir can sue for monetary damages under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act or if—as the gov't claims—once the gov't ceases its unlawful conduct, there is no longer a legal remedy. In an amicus brief filed this week, IJ urges the Court to allow damages and examines the role that damages have played since the Founding in ensuring federal officials are not above the law. Allegation: In…

Anti-SLAPP

Facebook has entered a $550m settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The settlement comes following allegations that the social media giant’s photo-scanning technology violated Illinois privacy laws. The law, the Illinois Privacy Act 2008, was very strict in its adjudication of consumer privacy laws. The Guardian has coverage. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax’s defamation lawsuit against CBS, following the network airing Gayle King interviewing two women who accused him of sexual assault, has failed. Being found to be a public figure Fairfax had to prove that CBS acted with actual malice in airing the interview. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii congresswomen, is seeking to sue Hilary Clinton for defamation claiming damages of $50m. The suit follows comments made by Clinton suggesting that Ms Gabbard was “the favourite of the Russians”. The Independent reports on claims by Ms Gabbard’s lawyers that Ms Clinton is refusing to be served with the claim. …
“I’m emotionally exhausted. This has been a very long battle,” Polito said. “Last Friday when the verdict was read I felt a little bit relieved, but most importantly, I feel my reputation was restored to myself. What’s been so hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story.” – Andrea Polito Image Source: people.com Andrea Polito, a Dallas wedding photographer and owner of ‘Andrea Polito Wedding Photography’, won the longest fight of her life – a defamation suit against former customers that lasted for two and a half years. It all started when a couple, Neely and Andrew Moldovan, hired Polito to take their wedding pictures in 2014. When the couple inquired when their wedding pictures would be released, Polito reminded them that the contract required them to submit an order form and select a cover photo, costing $125, before photos could be released. They objected to paying the $125 fee.…
“I’m emotionally exhausted. This has been a very long battle,” Polito said. “Last Friday when the verdict was read I felt a little bit relieved, but most importantly, I feel my reputation was restored to myself. What’s been so hard the past couple of years has been feeling so ashamed of this story.” – Andrea Polito Image Source: people.com Andrea Polito, a Dallas wedding photographer and owner of ‘Andrea Polito Wedding Photography’, won the longest fight of her life – a defamation suit against former customers that lasted for two and a half years. It all started when a couple, Neely and Andrew Moldovan, hired Polito to take their wedding pictures in 2014. When the couple inquired when their wedding pictures would be released, Polito reminded them that the contract required them to submit an order form and select a cover photo, costing $125, before photos could be released. They objected to paying the $125 fee.…
Law and Media Round Up – 10 February 2020 - February 9, 2020 - INFORRM
Manchester United have accused the Sun newspaper of receiving advanced notice of an intended attack on the house of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and have made a complaint to IPSO. The incident occurred on 28 January, when a group wearing balaclavas launched flares at the Cheshire home of the club’s executive vice-chairman. Graffiti was sprayed on the front gates and intercom unit, with the house sign beside it defaced with red spray paint. The newspaper confirmed a reporter attended “following a tip-off that there was to be a protest”, but it added it was not made aware of “what was to take place nor incited it or encouraged any criminal activity”. There was piece on the Zelo Street blog also on the BBC and The Guardian. On 4 February 2020, the Government has insisted it is “committed” to media freedom after political journalists staged a mass walkout when only a selected group were invited to a briefing at Downing Street within…
Consistency is the hobgoblin of fair people.
On January 23, 2020, the Texas Fifth District Court of Appeals in Dallas retracted its previous ruling in the trade secrets dispute Goldberg, et al. v. EMR (USA Holdings) Inc., et al. and issued a new opinion upon rehearing. In doing so, the Court reversed course on its previous ruling that communications with customers and suppliers involved a matter of public concern and were an exercise of free speech. The Court’s new ruling, which was decided under the pre-September 1, 2019, version of the Texas Citizens Participation Act (“TCPA”), makes clear that communications between a company and customers or suppliers that deal only with the sale of a commodity are not protected by the TCPA.[1] The August 2019 Ruling In the Court’s original Goldberg ruling, issued on August 22, 2019, the Court of Appeals held that the TCPA did not apply to former employees’ communications with actual or potential purchasers of their new employers’ products or…

California Constitution

A bail case is on the March calendar - February 11, 2020 - David Ettinger
The Supreme Court’s March calendar will have five cases, including one of two pending high-profile bail cases that could be affected by new legislation, which in turn could be overturned by a referendum that will be on the November ballot.  (See:  Should the bail cases be on hold until after next year’s referendum?)  There is still no argument scheduled in Robinson v. Lewis.  (See here.) On March 3, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or stated by the court itself): Hart v. Keenan Properties, Inc.:  (1) Was a witness’s testimony about his recollection of seeing invoices regarding the supply of products containing asbestos to plaintiff’s worksite inadmissible hearsay?  (2) Could secondary evidence of the invoices be authenticated by the witness’s statements and other circumstantial evidence?  The court granted review in February 2019.…
A US district judge on Monday rejected a request by Uber and the food delivery app Postmates seeking to halt enforcement of a California employment law that went into effect on the first of the year. The California law, known as AB5, and signed into law in September, is aimed at protecting so-called “gig economy” employees, making it difficult for companies to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees in order to avoid supplying them with employment benefits, such as workers compensation or health insurance. US District Judge Dolly Gee said Monday that although the companies have shown “some measure of the likelihood of irreparable harm, the balance of equities and the public interest weigh in favor of permitting the state to enforce this legislation.” The law will go into effect instead of waiting for the outcome of the case. Uber and Postmates filed the suit at the end of December, arguing that AB 5 violates the Contracts…
AB 5’s Legal Challenges Update - February 6, 2020 - James W. Ward
In addition to these legal challenges, other changes to the law may be coming.AB 5, one of the most widely publicized and controversial bills from last year, has been (mostly) officially in effect for slightly over a month. As expected, the new worker classification law is facing several legal challenges from various industry groups, one of which has resulted in an injunction. Below are updates on the legal challenges from writers, truck drivers and a couple “gig” companies. Writers/Journalists On December 17, 2019, freelance writers and journalists filed suit in federal court challenging AB 5. The American Society of Journalists and Authors Inc. and the National Press Photographers Association argue that AB 5 violates the Equal Protection Clause and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by singling out freelance journalists for “unique and significant burdens.” AB 5 creates an exception to its ABC test for freelance writers who write…
This month's Under Submission column in the DJ by PJ Gilbert is Taking credit or blame for the future, which notes:Judges are not always knowledgeable. This is not an indictment, but an acknowledgment that we decide cases involving a myriad of subjects, about which we know... nothing. Through motions and evidence, we acquire the knowledge it takes to correctly, we hope, apply the law. Judges are perpetual students. Attorneys, who write briefs, motions and arguments for them to read and to hear, are teachers. Whether admitted or not, everyone in our profession knows this. And the peculiar nature of this relationship is that the students, the judges, have all the power.And in the latest installment of Moskovitz on appeal, Myrong and retired Justice William Stein write about Harmless Error -- "To get a reversal, you must also show that the judge's error was "prejudicial" -- not "harmless error." This rule stems from the California…
Domen characterizes himself as a “former homosexual” who has now embraced heterosexuality. Domen (through his organization Church United) published 89 videos on Vimeo. Vimeo flagged the videos as violating its policy against the promotion of “Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE),” and after a short warning, it terminated Domen’s account. Domen claims “Vimeo restricted and censored Plaintiffs’ videos because those videos were based on a viewpoint regarding sexual orientation and religion with which Vimeo disagrees.” The court easily dismisses the case on Section 230 and other grounds. Section 230(c)(1). The court says: “Plaintiffs are seeking to hold Vimeo liable for removing Plaintiffs’ own content….Vimeo plainly was acting as a ‘publisher’ when it deleted (or, in other words, withdrew) Plaintiffs’ content on the Vimeo website.” Cites to Riggs v. MySpace, Ebeid v. Facebook, Lancaster…
In Anderson v. City of San Jose (2019), the Sixth District Court of Appeal held that California’s charter cities must comply with the Surplus Land Act (Govt. Code § 54220 et seq.).[1] This decision, essentially, ruled that the statewide housing crisis is of paramount importance, and that all cities – even charter cities – must yield to the state law processes governing surplus land disposition and give affordable housing preference when building on surplus city land. This ruling sets an important precedent establishing that, where there are concerns of statewide importance, a charter city’s authority to control the disposition of its own property may be superseded by state law. In light of California’s ongoing housing crisis and approved legislation designed to address it, the Anderson ruling signals a tightening grip on state control over local municipal land holdings and the related policies that cities use to dispose of real estate. In…