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

First Amendment


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This is another sex trafficking case against Craigslist. The plaintiff’s position primarily focuses on craigslist’s creation of a section of its platform devoted to “erotic services,” but also points to features like craigslist’s embedded messaging system (which allows for confidential communications between buyers and sellers, along with the exchange of sexually explicit photographs) and its policy of accepting pre-paid credit cards for fees and burner phones for contact, which both help users maintain their anonymity. According to L.H., these features demonstrate that craigslist materially contributed to the advertisements L.H.’s traffickers posted of her on the platform. The court says this is not enough to get around Section 230. Citing Roommates.com, the court says (bold added): None of L.H.’s allegations amounts to a showing that craigslist materially contributed to the illegality of her traffickers’ postings. While some of…
Weekend Roundup - May 27, 2022 - Karen Tani
"How We Told the Ongoing Story of Title IX": Laura Mogulescu, Curator of Women's History Collections for the Center for Women's History at the New-York Historical Society, writes for History News Network about the exhibition "Title IX: Activism On and Off the Field." Congratulations to Lea VanderVelde upon her being named a 2022 University Distinguished Chair at the University of Iowa.  “The award is one of the highest bestowed on Iowa faculty. It recognizes tenured scholars of national and international distinction who are making a Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County significant positive impact within the university, state of Iowa, and beyond through teaching, research, and/or scholarship.”  (Iowa Now). Nominations are due June 1 for ASLH awards celebrating “legal history research published or defended in the previous calendar year.”  More."The Association of Research of the Professional…
[so long as the court makes the decision for secular reasons.] From today's decision in Karutz v. Karutz, decided by the Kentucky Court of Appeals (Judges Pamela Goodwine, Irv Maze, and J. Christopher McNeill): Mother and Father share joint custody of their daughter, A.R.K. ("child"), who has been at the center of a protracted legal dispute since the parties' separation in 2016. Relevant to the appeal, the parties could not reach an agreement as to where the child should attend kindergarten and petitioned the court to resolve the issue. Father's preferred choice was Seton Catholic School in Lexington, Kentucky. Mother wanted child to attend Berea Independent Community School … in Berea, Kentucky…. Father testified that Seton was his preferred school because it was closer to the interstate and thus logistically better for pick-ups and drop-offs; had a later start time so child could sleep in; was more diverse than Berea Independent, was a…
[An isolated sexually themed passage, even a graphic one, doesn't make a work obscene.] The Court of Mist and Fury / Gender Queer controversy is a good opportunity to note an important legal principle: Under modern American law, a work can only be "obscene" and therefore constitutionally unprotected—or "obscene as to minors," and therefore constitutionally unprotected when distributed to minors—if it's basically pornographic taken as a whole. "A quotation from Voltaire in the flyleaf of a book will not constitutionally redeem an otherwise obscene publication." The rule once seemed to be that, "to be smut, it must be ut- / terly without redeeming social importance," but that is no longer so. But, conversely, a few sexual scenes in a work likewise don't make a publication obscene. The question is whether its dominant theme appeals to the "prurient interest," which is to say a…
[Jury trials, bench trials, and prospective insurrections.] Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice. Friends, the right to criticize the government is surely one of the most important rights protected by the Constitution. So we're pleased to report that Mount Pleasant, Wisc. City Attorney Chris Smith's vexatious defamation suit against our client, Kelly Gallaher—a local activist and critic of the Foxconn land grab, as well as a critic of Chris Smith—was dismissed this week. Smith demanded that Kelly never publicly speak or write his name again, but . . . that's not going to happen, Chris Smith. Click here to learn more. Rhode Island sued Shell, Chevron, and the other big oil companies on the theory that their role in global warming gives rise to claims under state law. The oil companies removed the suit to federal court, arguing for federal jurisdiction for a zillion different reasons.…
A federal judge in the Western District of Oklahoma has denied Northeastern State University’s motion to dismiss a former employee’s claims of sexual harassment and retaliation under both Title VII and Title IX, after a coworker allegedly put his hands down her pants.   Deanie Hensley, the plaintiff in the action, worked for NSU in Tahlequah, Oklahoma for approximately 13 years. She alleged in her First Amended Complaint that multiple supervisors and co-workers engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior over that time, including sharing sexual cartoons and remarking on women’s bodies, but Hensley’s complaints resulted in no changes. After her complaint about a particular supervisor resulted in retaliation including stripping Hensley of job duties, she decided to take a position with a contract company that provided the university’s mail services. The joint employment with NSU and this company allowed her to continue working at NSU…

Anti-SLAPP


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In Ratcliff v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles, (CA App., May 19, 2022), a California state appellate court affirmed the denial of an anti-SLAPP motion sought by the Los Angeles Archdiocese.  The court explained:Seven adults allege they were molested by a priest when they were children. They brought suit against The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Los Angeles and related entities ..., alleging defendants were vicariously liable for ratifying the molestation and directly liable for their own negligence in failing to supervise the priest, and related acts and omissions. The Archdiocese moved to strike the operative complaint under the anti-SLAPP law (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.16), arguing that some of the acts by which it purportedly ratified the molestation or acted negligently constituted speech or litigation conduct protected by the anti-SLAPP statute....The court concluded however that:The Archdiocese, both in its anti-SLAPP motion before the trial court,…
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said that ExxonMobil's anti-SLAPP defense is inadequate.
Massachusetts court rules ExxonMobil cannot use anti-SLAPP law to dodge climate lawsuit - May 24, 2022 - Sarah Ethington | U. Nevada Las Vegas School of Law, US
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Monday denied ExxonMobil Corp.’s (ExxonMobil) motion to dismiss a climate deception lawsuit on “anti-SLAPP” grounds. The Office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey released a statement following the SJC’s decision affirming the rejection of ExxonMobil’s “anti-SLAPP” motion to dismiss by the Suffolk Superior Court. Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) are lawsuits which are designed to intimidate opponents through litigation.  The complaint was filed in 2019 against ExxonMobil “for misleading Massachusetts investors about the fossil fuel-driven climate change risks to its business and deceptively advertising its fossil fuel products to Massachusetts consumers.” On appeal ExxonMobil argued the Attorney General’s lawsuit improperly targeted ExxonMobil’s protected “petitioning” activities. However the SJC agreed…
From Bloomberg Law (see also Casino.org (Devin O'Connor)): Former Wynn Resorts Ltd. CEO Steve Wynn agreed to dismiss his lawsuit accusing attorney Lisa Bloom and her law firm of defaming him in a press release that said Wynn ordered female show performers to present themselves in a more sexually appealing way …. "Per the terms of the settlement, Ms. Bloom will be issuing a public statement within 5 days of the dismissal of the action, which will acknowledge a retraction of the defamatory statement," Todd L. Bice of Pisanelli Bice PLLC, who represents Wynn, told Bloomberg Law on Friday. "The financial terms of the payment to Mr. Wynn are confidential." For more on the underlying allegations, see the Ninth Circuit's decision last year Wynn v. Bloom, which allowed the libel lawsuit to go forward: Defendants-Appellants Lisa Bloom and the Bloom Firm … appeal from the district court's denial of their [anti-SLAPP] Special Motion to…
Columbia Global Freedom of Expression seeks to contribute to the development of an integrated and progressive jurisprudence and understanding on freedom of expression and information around the world.  It maintains an extensive database of international case law. This is its newsletter dealing with recent developments  in the field. Community Highlights and Recent News ● Upcoming Event: Media Sustainability in the Big Tech Era. Join The Inter-American Dialogue for a panel discussion on the vulnerabilities facing the journalism industry in the Americas. Speakers will consider a rage of threats impacting the media and democracy in the region such as the economic crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as explore regulatory responses which would take into account each nation’s different economic, cultural, and political contexts. The discussion will be framed by four key questions: What are the main…
From Aristocrat Plastic Surgery, P.C. v. Silva, decided today by a New York intermediate appellate court, in an opinion by Justice Julio Rodriguez III: The primary issue on this appeal is the scope of "public interest" as defined in the 2020 amendments to New York State's anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation (anti-SLAPP) statute. We hold that defendant's reviews on internet recommendation platforms of plaintiff physician's treatment were communications made "in connection with an issue of public interest" …. Accordingly, defendant is entitled to seek attorneys' fees and damages …. New York courts have generally applied a broad interpretation to what constitutes a matter of public concern. "Matters of public concern include matters of political, social, or other concern to the community, even those that do not affect the general population." When determining whether content is within "the sphere…

California Constitution


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On behalf of Joey Fishkin, Franita Tolson, and me, and with co-counsel Kathryn Eidmann and Mark Rosenbaum of Public Counsel, we just filed this proposed amicus brief in the California Court of Appeal in the Proposition 22 case. Here’s the… Continue reading
On May 23, 2022, in Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., P.3d (2022), the California Supreme Court issued an important wage-and-hour decision.  In Naranjo, the Court held that meal break premiums that an employer pays to an employee for missed, late, or short meal breaks constitute wages.  Consequently, an employer must report those premium payments on an employee’s wage statement pursuant to Labor Code section 226 and must promptly pay any owed premiums when an employee terminates employment or face waiting time penalties under Labor Code section 203.  Naranjo also concluded that the California Constitution’s default prejudgment interest rate of seven percent applies to calculating the prejudgment interest on claims for meal and rest break premiums. Background The trial court entered a directed verdict for Spectrum’s former employee, Gustavo Naranjo, on his class-wide meal break claim, for the period from June 2004 through…
Dave blogged last week that a California court struck down the state’s board gender diversity statute, finding that it violated the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution. The same plaintiffs also recently prevailed on a motion for summary judgment to challenge the statute that would require a certain number of directors from “underrepresented communities.” According to this Cooley blog, the California Secretary of State has announced that the state will appeal the May 13th decision. As the blog details, the Secretary of State believes that the statute is narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest. If you’re advising a California-headquartered company on next steps, remember to check the voting policies of the company’s shareholders and consider that in your analysis. For example, State Street announced that beginning in 2023, it expects Russell 3000 companies to have boards composed of at least 30% women directors. It may…
[The result might have been different "if plaintiff's speech had occurred off-campus."] So held Judge Dale Drozd (E.D. Cal.) in Castro v. Clovis Unified School Dist., decided Friday: Plaintiff is a former Clovis High School student who graduated in 2019. Plaintiff was scheduled to attend his graduation ceremony on May 30, 2019. On that same day, plaintiff posted to his personal Twitter page a picture of another classmate with the caption "nigger." Plaintiff posted the tweet while on the school's campus and during school hours. The classmate featured in the picture plaintiff posted is African American. Another student saw the tweet and contacted defendant Stephanie Hanks—the site principal of Clovis High School—to inform her of the tweet and how it had upset the reporting student. Plaintiff and his parents were called into defendant Hanks' office, and plaintiff was provided with his high school graduation diploma and informed that…
In Crest v. Padilla, No. 19STCV27561, 2022 WL 1565613 (Cal. Super. May 13, 2022), the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles (Duffy-Lewis, J.) issued a decision following a bench trial finding that Senate Bill 826 (“SB 826”), California’s law requiring gender diversity on boards of directors, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution.  The ruling comes after a decision in a different case issued in April of this year, which found that Assembly Bill 979 (“AB 979”), which required publicly held corporations with principal executive offices in California to include “underrepresented communities” on their boards of directors, also violates the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution (blog article here). After California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 826 into law on September 30, 2018, California became the first state to require publicly traded companies to include women…
On May 13, 2022, a law requiring publicly held corporations headquartered in California to have women on the board of directors was enjoined from being enforced and declared unconstitutional after a bench trial in Los Angeles Superior Court.  In Crest v. Padilla, a judge ruled that the law violated the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution because it created a suspect gender classification without a compelling state interest, and the law was not necessary or narrowly tailored to achieve the State’s goals of remedying gender discrimination or benefiting the economy.  On September 30, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 826 into law.  It required public companies headquartered in California to have at least one female on the board of directors by the end of 2019.  By the end of 2021, public companies in California with five directors were required to have at least two female directors, or three female directors if the…