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

First Amendment

Grantmakers Conference Supplement: Q&A - June 16, 2024 - Gene Takagi
Conferences of grantmaker organizations focus on many critically important topics. But I have noticed that nonprofit and exempt organizations law tends to be an underappreciated area of coverage, even when it might inform several areas of focus. And for those willing to make the investment in learning and managing nuances and complexities, a better understanding of the law may help in the creation of new strategies. Of course, several attendees to these conferences may have in-house legal counsel with such expertise. But many do not. Or they may not regularly confer with their legal counsel. This post seeks to provide some high level information to supplement the learnings to be gained at grantmaker conferences and other convenings. For purposes of this post, all references to grantmakers are to grantmakers that are recognized as tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and all references to grants are to grants made by such grantmakers. 1. How…
US Department of Justice unearths civil rights violations by Phoenix police department - June 15, 2024 - Sean Nolan | Southwestern Law School, US
The US Department of Justice on Thursday found that the Phoenix Police Department and the City of Phoenix have engaged in excessive force, discrimination and general civil rights violations against Black, Latino, Native American and other marginalized communities. The findings were published in a 126-page report, ending an investigation that began in 2021. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland summarized the report in an accompanying press release, stating: Our comprehensive investigation revealed unlawful and unconstitutional practices in the Phoenix Police Department’s enforcement activities that impact some of Phoenix’s most vulnerable residents, including Black, Hispanic, and Native American people, homeless people, and those experiencing behavioral health crises. The police also used excessive force, delayed necessary medical aid, and infringed on the civil rights of those engaged in First Amendment-protected conduct, including demonstrations and protests.…
Blackface depictions have a long history of racism. In 2020, Facebook banned them as hate speech when the images “caricature” black people. At the same time, the “Black Peter” character is a long-standing (though increasingly controversial) part of Christmas celebrations in the Netherlands, and older images of people in blackface are essential to understanding our (racially dubious) history. Thus, like most efforts to define “bad” content for content moderation purposes, when it comes to the legitimacy of publishing blackface photos, “it depends.” Today’s case involves the racial discrimination complaints of Thompson, an African-American employee at the photo repository ShutterStock, especially in the emotionally raw aftermath following the 2020 George Floyd murder. (Long-time readers may recall that this blog had a several-year arrangement with ShutterStock to use their stock photos to illustrate blog posts; that…
Trane Robinson reviews arguments in the Sixth Circuit’s National Republican Senatorial Committee v. FEC case, about limits on political party expenditures coordinated with particular candidates.  It’s an issue that’s been in the deregulatory community’s sights for a while now, and… Continue reading The post “En Banc Court Hears First Amendment Challenge to Campaign Finance Restriction” appeared first on Election Law Blog.
Posted by Arthur B. Crozier, Gabrielle E. Wolf, and Jonathan L. Kovacs, Innisfree M&A Inc., on Saturday, June 15, 2024 Editor's Note: Arthur B. Crozier is Executive Chair, and Gabrielle E. Wolf and Jonathan L. Kovacs are Directors at Innisfree M&A Inc. This post is part of the Delaware law series; links to other posts in the series are available here. Introduction The 2024 Proxy Season has so far produced surprises, unpredictability, new tactics and responses, and a new(ish) player. Surprises: Management’s clean sweep successes in proxy contests, notwithstanding the use of universal proxy cards (UPCs). Unpredictability: Delaware court decisions disrupting market practices. New Tactics and Responses: Litigation against the 14a-8 regime and proponents’ new strategies. New(ish) Player: The resurgence of labor activism at the proxy ballot box.   I. 2024: The Year the UPC Regime Favored Management? Perhaps…
Posted by Arthur B. Crozier, Gabrielle E. Wolf, and Jonathan L. Kovacs, Innisfree M&A Inc., on Saturday, June 15, 2024 Editor's Note: Arthur B. Crozier is Executive Chair, and Gabrielle E. Wolf and Jonathan L. Kovacs are Directors at Innisfree M&A Inc. This post is part of the Delaware law series; links to other posts in the series are available here. Introduction The 2024 Proxy Season has so far produced surprises, unpredictability, new tactics and responses, and a new(ish) player. Surprises: Management’s clean sweep successes in proxy contests, notwithstanding the use of universal proxy cards (UPCs). Unpredictability: Delaware court decisions disrupting market practices. New Tactics and Responses: Litigation against the 14a-8 regime and proponents’ new strategies. New(ish) Player: The resurgence of labor activism at the proxy ballot box.   I. 2024: The Year the UPC Regime Favored Management? Perhaps…

Anti-SLAPP

This case hit my alerts because of its discussion about keyword advertising, but first, I have to digest how the court got there. Tamales, but not Texas Tamales [Reminder: per Wikipedia, a tamale “is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, a dough made from nixtamalized corn, which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaves” and then stuffed with a wide range of fillings. Yum, and easily veganized. We usually get ours at the local farmers market.] In an April 2023 summary judgment ruling, the plaintiff established that it “possesses the legally protectable, incontestable trademarks TEXAS TAMALE and TEXAS TAMALE COMPANY.” Say what? The court said that the trademark owner had been using the trademark since 1985 and registered the trademark in 2006. I haven’t taken the time to review the file, but the first place I’d turn would be the evidence supporting that the trademark owner had established sufficient secondary meaning for the term…
Zoning Activities Are Not Protected Speech - June 8, 2024 - Bradford Kuhn
When a property owner brings a regulatory taking / inverse condemnation claim based on a city or county’s zoning decisions, the owner often provides context and history, including public statements made by staff, board members or city council members.  Are those public statements protected speech and therefore subject to California’s Anti-SLAPP statute?  A recent California Court of Appeal decision, City of Redondo Beach v. 9300 Wilshire, provides some context on what is and what is not permissible.  9300 Wilshire involves the site of a power plant in the City of Redondo Beach.  ...
Elon Musk “secretly” fathered twins with his subordinate Shivon Zilis. When the news came to light, it triggered a “tabloid feeding frenzy.” US Weekly published two articles on the story and posted to Instagram. Unfortunately, the photo US Weekly used wasn’t of Zilis, it was of the plaintiff Amanda Bloom, a former roommate of Zilis. Upon notification, US Weekly acknowledged the error and replaced the photo within 24-48 hours. But allegedly, the photo still shows up on syndicated sites. The court dismisses Bloom’s lawsuit against US Weekly. Defamation. The case involves a matter of public concern, so the parties agreed that the plaintiff had to show actual malice. The plaintiff alleged that the US Weekly editors had seen photos of Zilis, which are easy to find. Instead, US Weekly pulled a photo from Zilis’ tweetstream, and the tweet in question “was a reply to plaintiff and tagged [plaintiff] and another individual in the…
On March 21, 2024, in a bold regulatory move, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed the Ensuring Likeness Voice and Image Security (“ELVIS”) Act (Tenn. Code Ann. §47-25-1101 et seq.) – a law which, as Gov. Lee stated, covers “new, personalized generative AI cloning models and services that enable human impersonation and allow users to make unauthorized fake works in the image and voice of others.” The ELVIS Act, which becomes effective on July 1, 2024, is notable in several respects.  Beyond its expansion of the Tennessee right of publicity statute to include protections for musicians’ and others’ voices from the misuse of AI, the Act contains a few notable provisions, including a novel provision that creates a cause of action against a person that distributes an algorithm or technology whose “primary purpose or function” involves creating a facsimile of a person’s voice or likeness without authorization, thus…
A dispute between a digital artist and his former employer over content rights resulted a court allowing the employee’s DMCA claim while striking the employee’s state law claims. For over five years, plaintiff worked for defendant, crafting digital street scenes of San Francisco to train the company’s self-driving vehicles. But plaintiff’s passion for digital art extended beyond his day job. So, in his spare time, using his own equipment, he created intricate urban scenery for video games, which he then sold on the Epic Games marketplace. When defendant learned of plaintiff’s side hustle, it claimed plaintiff’s project infringed defendant’s copyright rights. It demanded that plaintiff cease all sales of his digital art. Plaintiff refused to comply. He argued that his creations were made on his own time, with his own resources, and did not utilize any proprietary information from defendant. Defendant considered plaintiff’s refusal…
Written by Eduardo Silva de Freitas (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Xandra Kramer (Erasmus University Rotterdam/Utrecht University), members of the Vici project Affordable Access to Justice, financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), www.euciviljustice.eu. Introduction After extensive negotiations, on 24 April 2024, the European Parliament approved the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD or CS3D) as part of the EU Green Deal. Considering the intensive discussions, multiple changes, and the upcoming elections in view, the fate of the Commission’s proposal has been uncertain. The Directive marks an important step in human rights and environmental protection, aiming to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behaviour throughout global value chains. Some Member States have incorporated similar acts already, and the Directive will expand this to the other Member States, which will also ensure a level playing field for companies…

California Constitution

The May Revision of California’s 2024-2025 state budget seeks to block refund claims, worth approximately $1.3 billion for historical tax years, and $200 million per year going forward, by codifying informal guidance recently rejected by the Office of Tax Appeal’s (OTA) decision in the Matter of the Appeal of Microsoft Corporation & Subsidiaries (Appeal of Microsoft) and by granting the Franchise Tax Board’s (FTB) quasi-legislative rulemaking authority exempt from the procedural protections afforded by the Administrative Procedure Act.  The May Revision also proposes to suspend net operating loss (NOL) deductions and limit tax credit utilization to $5 million per year for tax years 2025-2027; however, the legislature proposes to apply the changes to tax years 2024-2026 instead.. In the Appeal of Microsoft, the OTA held 100 percent of repatriated dividends under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act were gross receipts and must be included in the taxpayer’s…
A suit was filed last week in a California federal district court by plaintiff who is employed as a lifeguard by Los Angeles County objecting to the requirement that he raise the Progress Pride Flag at his lifeguard station during June which has been designated as LGBTQ+ Pride month. The complaint (full text) in Little v. Los Angeles County Fire Department, (CD CA, filed 5/24/2024), alleges in part:Captain Little is ... an evangelical Christian with beliefs on marriage, family, sexual behavior and identity that align with the traditional and orthodox biblical-social teachings....... While Captain Little understands that the government can speak its own messages, and thus may promote Pride Month, he believes that he cannot personally do so by raising the Progress Pride Flag. Doing so would be to personally participate in, espouse, and promote messages contrary to his sincerely held religious beliefs, similar to how many courts have recognized that Jehovah’s Witnesses…
Pico Rivera sues PWD over 110% water rate hike - May 23, 2024 - Yosi Yahoudai
The city of Pico Rivera filed a lawsuit on April 26 to challenge a projected 110% increase in water rates for residents and businesses, arguing the rate hikes are illegal because the Pico Water District has failed to justify them based on the actual cost of providing water service. The city said PWD is raising the price of water over the next five years after a vote by the board of directors on Feb. 15, costing over $600,000. “As Mayor of Pico Rivera, I am deeply concerned about the significant financial burden that the outrageous 110% hike in water rates imposed by the Pico Water District will place on our residents and businesses,” Pico Rivera Mayor Andrew Lara told KTLA. The PWD covers about 30% of the city’s nearly 59,000 residents, about 90.5% of which identify as Latino. Lara called the increase “unjustifiable,” pointing out that the higher rates came as the result of a 2023 study when such an examination of rates wasn’t expected until…
2nd District Court of Appeal Upholds Local Governments’ Discretion to Override Housing Density Caps - May 15, 2024 - Abbott & Kindermann, Inc., William W. Abbott and Kara Anderson
In AIDS Healthcare Foundation v. Bonta (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 73, the Second District Court of Appeal upheld the power of local governments to override housing density caps, including caps adopted by voter initiative. Legal Background Under Senate Bill 10 (“SB 10”), passed in 2021, the Legislature granted counties and cities discretion on a parcel-by-parcel basis to supersede local housing density caps. This discretion was limited to particular parameters, namely that the local government could adopt an ordinance to zone a parcel for up to 10 residential units if: (1) the parcel was located in a transit-rich area or an urban infill site, (2) the parcel was not located in a fire hazard zone, and (3) the local legislative body making the increased density zoning determination did so consistent with its “obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.” For a local government to override a housing density cap that was previously instituted via local…
Article 14, Section 12 of the California Constitution requires the Governor to submit a budget to the Legislature by January 10 of each year.  The Constitution further required that the budget be accompanied by a budget bill, which the chairperson of the budget committees of each house of the legislature must introduce "immediately".  The legislature must pass the budget by June 15.    In the interval between the introduction and passing of the budget, various adjustments to revenues and expenditures are made.  The administration communicates these proposed changes by sending what is known as a "finance letter" to the chairpersons of the budget committees.  Adjustments to the Governor's budget are reflected in what is known as the "May Revise".  On May 10, Governor Newsom release the May Revise of  his 2024-2025 budget (California's fiscal year begins on July 1).    With respect to the…
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California has a budget deficit of $27.6 billion, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Friday – a gap so wide that he’s proposing cutting 10,000 vacant state jobs and suspending some widely used business tax deductions. The Democratic governor outlined the deficit Friday as part of his proposed $288 billion state budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. It’s the largest of any state. “These are programs, propositions that I’ve long advanced — many of them,” Newsom said. “But you’ve got to do it. We have to be responsible. We have to be accountable.” Newsom also is proposing to cut funding for 260 different state programs. One-time cuts would include $2 billion for broadband that would have expanded broadband connections, $500 million that would have improved “water storage” in the drought-plagued state, and $272 million for employment services for the state’s welfare program.…