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

First Amendment

Defending Fair Use in the Omegaverse - October 26, 2020 - Alex Moss
Copyright law is supposed to promote creativity, not stamp out criticism. Too often, copyright owners forget that – especially when they have a convenient takedown tool like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). EFF is happy to remind them – as we did this month on behalf of Internet creator Lindsay Ellis. Ellis had posted a video about a copyright dispute between authors in a very particular fandom niche: the Omegaverse realm of wolf-kink erotica. The video tells the story of that dispute in gory and hilarious detail, while breaking down the legal issues and proceedings along the way. Techdirt called it “truly amazing.” We agree. But feel free to watch “Into the Omegaverse: How a Fanfic Trope Landed in Federal Court,” and decide for yourself. The dispute described in the video began with a series of takedown notices to online platforms with highly dubious allegations of copyright infringement. According to these, one Omegaverse…
Law Firms Still Cutting Back — See Also - October 26, 2020 - Joe Patrice
Cutbacks: Kirkland lays off staff. Once More, With Feeling: White House plans another COVID superspreader event. Amy Coney Barrett Isn't The Only One Who Doesn't Know What The First Amendment Says: Jared and Ivanka get blasted by Lincoln Project lawyers. What?: Speaking of the First Amendment, what's this guy's deal?
Symposium: Coronavirus litigation lurks in the shadows - October 26, 2020 - Stephen Wermiel
This article is part of a symposium on the Supreme Court’s “shadow docket.” Stephen Wermiel writes the “SCOTUS for law students” column for SCOTUSblog. He is a professor of practice at American University Washington College of Law, where he teaches constitutional law and a seminar on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has been wrestling with a steady stream of legal issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, all in the form of emergency applications decided without full briefing or oral argument. These cases, involving restrictions on religious gatherings and other aspects of state stay-at-home orders, exposure of prisoners to COVID-19, the census deadline, and access to medical abortions, are part of the Supreme Court’s shadow docket. And as with many of the court’s shadow docket decisions, the emergency rulings by the justices in the cases arising from the pandemic have had immediate and substantial practical impact. (An…
AU’s Youth Fellows: Barrett’s Views On Religious Freedom, Health Care Will Harm Our Communities LHayes Mon Oct 26, 2020 - 16:16 Image During the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett, the issue of church-state separation was in the national spotlight. Adding Barrett's extreme views to  the Supreme Court's conservative majority has implications that can affect the quality of life of many Americans in different ways. As members of Americans United’s Youth Organizing Fellowship, we offer our perspectives on how the disregard for church-state separation, unchecked religious extremism, and an ultra-conservative Supreme Court will affect the lives of diverse Americans.  Katie Fleischer, Smith College One thing has become very clear as Republican leaders rush to confirm Barrett to the Supreme Court during the 2020 presidential election: They see religious freedom  as a…
Edward Snowden Granted Permanent Russian Residency - October 26, 2020 - Geoff Schweller
On October 22, the Russian government granted American whistleblower Edward Snowden an open-ended residence permit, according to Snowden’s Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena. The permit gives Snowden permanent residency rights, allowing him to avoid returning to the United States where he faces criminal charges for violating the Espionage Act. Snowden, a former contractor for the U.S. National Security Agency, fled the United States in 2013 when he leaked information detailing extensive domestic and international surveillance operations of U.S. intelligence agencies. After fleeing the U.S. Snowden sought asylum in a number of countries, including Russia. In 2014, Snowden received a Russian residence permit valid for three years, which was later extended for another three years. Snowden’s residence permit was set to expire this year and he first filed an application for an open-ended residence permit in April. However, his application was delayed due to the COVID-19…
A former official who worked for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has sued the agency and the Department of Energy (DOE) alleging whistleblower retaliation, according to an October 21 article from E&E News. Kevin Chmielewski filed the lawsuit on October 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawsuit alleges “EPA violated his free speech and due process rights by removing him from the agency while DOE did the same by refusing to hire him,” according to the article. The lawsuit also names EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette as defendants. Chmielewski confirmed to E&E News that he filed the lawsuit but refrained from commenting further. James Hewitt, the EPA’s spokesman, told E&E News, “We can’t comment on pending litigation.” The DOE’s press officials did not respond to E&E’s questions about the lawsuit. Chmielewski worked at the EPA…

Anti-SLAPP

The SCC updates the law on qualified privilege and malice, holding lawyers to higher standards when making alleged defamatory statements. In its first of two companion decisions on anti-SLAPP suit motions, the Supreme Court of Canada in Pointes Protection confirmed the test to be applied (as set out in our first blog here). In Bent v Platnick, 2020 SCC 23 the SCC applied that ...
[So holds the California Court of Appeal, interpreting the California anti-SLAPP statute.] From Bellino v. Judge, decided yesterday, in an opinion by Presiding Justice Kathleen O'Leary, joined by Justices Richard Fybel and Thomas Goethals: Tamra Judge and Shannon Beador, cast members of the nationally televised reality show the "Real Housewives of Orange County" (RHOC), appeared on a gossip podcast. During the podcast, Judge and Beador made comments about James Bellino, the ex-husband of Judge's former RHOC castmate. Bellino and his company, Jump Management Co., LLC (JMCO) (collectively referred to as Plaintiffs), sued the women for defamation and other related claims…. Bellino is a businessperson and entrepreneur. He is the managing member of JMCO. Bellino's ex-wife Alexis Bellino was a cast member of RHOC from 2008 to 2013. Alexis and Bellino were married throughout the time Alexis was a cast member of RHOC. Bellino was never a cast member of…
ADB Interest, LLC v. Wallace, 606 S.W.3d 413 (Tex. Ct. App. 2020) This is an anti-SLAPP case about statements by a disgruntled customer/alleged competitor. Black, the managing member of ADB, invented the FasciaBlaster, which is marketed by ADB. The user is supposed to roll the product vigorously over his or her body. ADB claimed benefits for pain reduction, flexibility, joint function, circulation, muscle definition and performance, nerve activity, posture, and enhanced beauty, “including the virtual elimination of cellulite.” The product allegedly works by “opening the fascia,” which is a layer of tissue that encloses muscles and organs. Blac published a book that is “an instructional guide to ‘FasciaBlasting’ ” that identifies numerous risks associated with using the FasciaBlaster, including to people with any history of deep vein thrombosis or a blood clot (“the consequences could be deadly”), or people with a…
AUWCL Booking.com debate - October 16, 2020 - Rebecca Tushnet
David Bernstein, Debevoise & Plimpton: we don’t give controlling authority to dictionary meaning or previous generic use. We consider one thing only: consumer perceptions of the term now as generic or brand name. In the past, courts and scholars have said that a generic term can never be brought back from the dead, but there’s no support in history, Lanham Act, or sound public policy, and Booking.com rejects that.  A TM need not be born, grow old, and be extinguished. Goodyear case itself proves this point. In 1888, Goodyear was considered generic for a process for making rubber. Today, it’s a wellknown trademark for rubber tires, and registered since 1948. That’s good! If consumers grow to perceive a term primarily as a brand name, it should be protected as a mark. Protection v. enforcement: even if protected as a TM, the scope may be limited. There are numerous limits that prevent anticompetitive enforcement, which is true for formerly generic…
Employees leaving a company can often wonder whether their former employer will insert itself into their future career. In particular, people can be worried about what former employers are allowed to say to jobs where they are applying.  “Can my old job sabotage my career?”  Texas has a patchwork of laws that apply to employment references that often differ dramatically from laws in other states.  The fact that companies can have their own reference policies only serves to confuse things more.  The purpose of this article to relieve some of that confusion when it comes to employment references in Texas. Employers are not required to give positive job references.  Many companies have internal policies stating that they only give “neutral” references, and some even use neutral third parties such as The Work Number to provide those references.  A neutral reference is one that generally includes an employee’s job title,…
Relist Watch - October 14, 2020 - John Elwood
John Elwood reviews Tuesday’s relists. I’m afraid to say that the start of the Supreme Court’s 2020-21 term is being overshadowed by a media circus. As easy as it is to get caught up in the favorable press and global spotlight, such events run the risk of developing partisan overtones. And at bottom, there are no winners in such undignified spectacles. Rest assured that we at Relist Watch are ignoring such things and keeping our eyes firmly on what really matters, the little-noticed minutiae of a single court’s docket. We were rewarded for our vigilance this week, as the court’s first relists yielded three grants and one hour of argument, presumably in February 2021, about the Constitution’s appointment clause — another in a recent string of separation-of-powers cases. Unfortunately, the other relists didn’t fare as well; the court unceremoniously denied review in a number of closely watched cases, including cases involving a…

California Constitution

California appeals court orders San Quentin prison population cut by half to combat COVID spread - October 23, 2020 - Zoe Gujral | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US
The California Court of Appeal First Appellate District has ordered San Quentin State Prison (SQ) to reduce its population by half. The move is intended to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Tuesday order follows a writ of habeas corpus filed by Ivan Von Staich, an inmate in the prison. Staich, 64, suffers from respiratory problems. When he filed the petition, Staich and a 65-year-old cellmate had tested positive for COVID-19. In fact, 75 percent of SQ’s inmate population and dozens of prison staff had tested positive. In the petition’s declaration, Staich stated that conditions in the prison made social distancing impossible. Staich alleged that his continued incarceration in SQ, as opposed to a residential facility supervised by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) that already accepted him, violates the US and California Constitutions’ prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. Additionally, he argued that the CDCR acted…
As I have noted in prior posts, one of the follow-on effects of the recent racial justice movement has been increased scrutiny of racial diversity within corporate management, and in particular on corporate boards. The boards of several publicly traded companies have been hit with shareholder derivative lawsuits alleging that the directors breached their fiduciary duties by failing to include African-American individuals on the boards, while at the same time the companies were touting their diversity and inclusion efforts.   In addition to the recent litigation, efforts to advance board racial diversity have included legislation. Earlier this year, the California legislature passed a bill mandating the inclusion on boards of California headquartered companies of representatives of “underrepresented communities.” On September 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsome signed the bill into law. As discussed below, even though the law has only been in place for a…
New Findings about the Dodgy Dossier - October 9, 2020 - James Campbell
State Dept Officials Were Skeptical about Christopher Steele ReportsThe Left’s Plan for Election ViolenceAfter Chinese Steal Billions in Research, We Finally Ban ThemJudicial Watch is Suing to Colorado to Clean Up Its Voter RollsStopping California’s Diversity Quotas for Corporate Boards Judicial Watch Contested Virginia Officials’ Secret Meeting on BLM Riot State Dept Officials Were Skeptical about Christopher Steele Reports  We have now received 48 pages of emails among top Obama State Department officials and a U.S. Ambassador expressing skepticism about Steele reports by Steele’s London-based private intelligence firm Orbis Business Intelligence. Steele was the author of the Clinton-funded, anti-Trump dossier. One assistant secretary of state says some of Steele’s reports sound “extreme” and others “do not ring true,” while the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine calls some Steele reports “flaky.” We obtained…
More than three years after the SEC’s Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies issued a recommendation, the SEC voted 3-2 to propose a conditional exemption from the broker registration requirements of Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act for “finders.” The proposed exemption would permit “finders” to engage in certain capital raising activities involving accredited investors and is intended to provide clarity to smaller businesses and their investors, and “finders” who assist them in raising capital. Under the proposed exemption, “finders” would be classified in two tiers with conditions tailored to the scope of their respective activities. Here’s the proposing release. This excerpt from the SEC’s press release summarizes the two classes of finders – see the complete press release for a summary of the applicable conditions: Tier I Finders A Tier I Finder would be limited to providing contact…
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the State of California County of Los Angeles on behalf of three California taxpayers to prevent California from enforcing Assembly Bill 979 (AB 979), which Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law September 30, 2020. The bill requires that boards of directors of California-based, publicly held domestic or foreign corporations satisfy racial, ethnicity, sexual preference and transgender status quotas by the end of the 2021 calendar year. A Senate Floor Analysis says the bill draws distinctions based on race and ethnicity, and therefore, it is “suspect,” and that “the existence of general societal discrimination will not ordinarily satisfy courts.” Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit a few hours after Governor Newsom signed the new quota law.   AB 979 requires publicly held corporations to have a minimum of one director from an…
California’s Proposition 58 (VIDEO) - September 28, 2020 - Litherland, Kennedy & Associates, APC, Attorneys at Law
In this Vlog, Attorney Justin M. Kennedy discusses California’s Proposition 58. Proposition 58 is a California constitutional amendment approved by the voters which excludes from reassessment transfers of real property between parents and children that has been effective since November 6, 1986. Proposition 58 is codified by section 63.1 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.  Litherland, Kennedy & Associates, APC, Attorneys at Law are members of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.  If you would like to learn more about the importance of estate planning, we invite you to attend one of our free estate planning webinars. The post California’s Proposition 58 (VIDEO) appeared first on Litherland, Kennedy & Associates, APC, Attorneys at Law.