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

First Amendment

What Happens if I Use a Trademark Without Permission? - May 13, 2021 - Everyday Law Staff
A trademark is any word, phrase, logo, or combination that distinguishes the source of one product or service from another in the marketplace. Businesses use trademarks to identify their products or services every day, but not all trademarks are legally protected in the same way. To get the benefit of enhanced legal protections, trademarks should be “registered” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Doing so can help protect against the use of a trademark without permission. Registration requires filing an application with the USPTO, paying the right filing fees, and passing a trademark review by the USPTO examiner. After completing this process, the USPTO issues a trademark registration certificate giving the trademark owner additional legal rights. Using a registered trademark without permission from the owner can lead to a trademark infringement lawsuit. However, a trademark registration does not always protect all uses of a trademark. There are…
It is never popular to fight for the free speech rights of individuals like Bartow. Indeed, after being quoted in a Washington Post article in favor of this ruling last night, I received emails denouncing me as a de facto racist, including one from an attorney condemning me for “defending bigotry under the guise of constitutional freedom.” It is a common attack on free speech advocates to claim that we defend bigotry as opposed to free speech in such cases.  The “guise of constitutional freedom” is in fact the First Amendment’s protection of unpopular speech. Indeed, Justice Thurgood Marshall famously declared in Police Dep’t of Chi. v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92, 95 (1972), that the “government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content.” Bartow is the price we pay for freedom of speech but it is not nearly as high of a cost as abandoning the bright line protecting us…
[Rutgers Law School, the National Coalition on Censorship, and the Washington Post.] For those of our readers who continue to be interested in this matter: [1.] The Rutgers Law School co-deans have publicly said (in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, responding to a Post editorial) that they "are not contemplating policies, rules or speech bans" related to quoting slurs from source materials (presumably whether that's done by students or professors): As a community, we are learning from the incident in which a White first-year student at Rutgers Law School used the n-word while quoting a legal opinion. We recognize the hurt that the involved students experienced following this incident, and we know that none of the parties acted with any ill intent. This situation raised critical issues about law school pedagogy and provided us with a welcome opportunity to talk as a community of faculty, students, staff and administration committed to anti-racism…
["All the times," "sometimes," or "rarely"? A prominent public university's training module requires faculty to give a particular answer.] A correspondent of mine, who is a tenured professor at a prominent public research university, e-mailed me about this item in a mandatory online training that he had to go through: When he answered "Sometimes," he got the answer, "Not Quite" / "You might be surprised to learn that false reports aren't common, and frivolous claims are almost nonexistent. According to a recent study, it is far more likely that troubling behavior will go unreported than that someone will make a false report. Try again." He couldn't proceed until he gave the demanded answer, which is "rarely." Now universities, like other employers, are entitled to require their employees to go through training on various procedures, whether having to do with safety, financial transactions,…
Family Research Council Staffer Endorses ‘Big Lie’ That Trump Really Won The Election boston Thu May 13, 2021 - 08:43 Authored by Rob Boston Image Earlier this week, more than 120 retired military generals and admirals released an open letter endorsing the Big Lie that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election. Among them was a name that jumped out at us here at Americans United: William G. Boykin. Americans United has been following Boykin’s checkered career for years. It has been one embarrassment after another. Consider the following highlights (or lowlights, if you will): October 2003: Americans United urges then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to fire Boykin for his pattern of delivering incendiary speeches in uniform attacking Islam. In one case, he boasted about his capture of an Islamic militant, remarking, “Well, you know what I knew, that my God was…
The title of this column is gibberish, and there is a very good reason for that. We have reached the point where the American right has so thoroughly abused the terms “cancel culture,” “wokeness,” and similar invented grievances that those words can now be used at any time and in any situation, with the only idea being conveyed is “I do not like this thing.”A business changes its product line? “Cancel culture strikes again!” A corporation makes a public statement about social issues? “Oh, I’m so tired of these woke types!!” Those responses conveniently change the subject, making it unnecessary to be honest about what is truly happening: “The owners of the Dr. Seuss books decided to stop selling a small number of unpopular volumes because of racist content,” and “Large American corporations oppose voter suppression.” Why talk substance when there is outraged posturing to be done?It was…

Anti-SLAPP

"I'm like the heavy.I've gone out pretty heavyagainst lawyers fordoing the wrong thing." In The Heavy, today's DJ reports 1st District Court of Appeal Justice James Richman doesn't hold back when he feels litigants or their attorneys have crossed a line. [The DJ's last profile of 1/2's Richman was in October 2007, titled From Pen-and-Paper Man to Internet Guru.]"Richman is especially known for opinions criticizing what he views as excessive use of the automatic stay triggered by appeals of anti-SLAPP motion denials .... [He] views the automatic stay as a mechanism for delay and has -- unsuccessfully -- called on the Legislature to address the issue." 'I use my opinions to teach people how to do it and how not to do it,'The justice will turn 80 this summer, but he has no plans to leave the court. "I still enjoy it," "It's important and intellectually stimulating and fun."Also in…
[To resolve the dictators’ asymmetry, Congress should adopt a Foreign Sovereign Anti-SLAPP statute and amend the FSIA. Courts should also interpret FSIA exceptions broadly, and reform the act of state doctrine and foreign official immunity.] My posts this week, based on a forthcoming article excerpted here, have made several arguments against foreign dictators in U.S. court. Courts need not allow foreign authoritarians to take advantage of access to our judicial system. At the very least, courts could change their approach to the foreign privilege to bring suit, act of state, international comity, and even the FSIA. However, yesterday I concluded that an anti-dictatorship standard was not administrable. The question, then, is how to remedy the original asymmetry—foreign dictators have easy access to court as plaintiffs but can take advantage of protective doctrines when they are defendants. Today, I propose four different ways to weaken dictators' access to…
I blogged a few weeks ago about a COVID-related libel and privacy lawsuit by former Electronic Privacy Information Center head Marc Rotenberg against Politico, LLC, Protocol Media, LLC, and Robert L. Allbritton and Tim Grieve (who run Politico and Protocol). One of the things I noted was the possible jurisdictional problem: The lawsuit is in federal court on a "diversity of citizenship" theory, which doesn't work if plaintiff and any of the defendants share the same state citizenship ("state" here including D.C.); and both Rotenberg and, it appeared, Allbritton or Grieve or both were D.C. citizens. A week ago, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan noted this problem, and ruled: Plaintiff brings this diversity action against two corporate entities and two individuals. However, the venue, jurisdiction and parties sections of the Complaint do not set forth the facts necessary to establish that this court has jurisdiction pursuant to 29 U.S.C. Section 1332. Plaintiff has…
[Foreign dictators have weaponized U.S. litigation to punish critics and newspapers, expanding the reach of transnational repression. It’s time to put a stop to it.] Foreign dictators are increasingly taking advantage of U.S. courts to pursue political ends. In just the past decade, authoritarian regimes from China, Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela have litigated claims in U.S. courts, often against newspapers or political dissidents that have emigrated here. While we may expect these authoritarian countries to face human rights or expropriation cases as defendants, these countries have surprisingly also filed claims as plaintiffs. Take, for instance, Turkey's current dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. About a decade ago, Erdogan broke with one of his main allies, a prominent cleric named Muhammed Fethullah Gülen, who lives in Pennsylvania. This political break led to increasingly vicious infighting between supporters of both men and arguably sparked a coup…
I'm delighted to report that Stanford law professor Diego Zambrano (an expert on civil procedure) will be guest-blogging this week about his forthcoming University of Chicago Law Review article, Foreign Dictators in U.S. Court: It's almost impossible to sue a foreign government in U.S. courts. The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the court-created "act of state" doctrine, and other common law immunities shield foreign officials and governments from most lawsuits. For instance, courts have dismissed claims against China, Cuba, Venezuela, and Russia over allegations of torture, detentions, and election interference. Yet, foreign governments have unfettered access to U.S. courts as plaintiffs. And foreign dictatorships, including Russia, China, Turkey, and Venezuela, have leveraged this access to harass political dissidents, critics, and even newspapers in the United States. These doctrines create an asymmetry at the heart of this Article: foreign dictators…
[Detective Vincent Cheung is suing Terrell Harper.] The case is Cheung v. Harper, and the video of the interaction is apparently this: The audio isn't great, but it sounds like a lot of personal insults ("motherfucker," "suck my dick," etc.) coupled with allusions to Cheung's being Asian ("soy sauce," "fucking Asian marts last week, how they treat dogs there, motherfuckers," "dog food eater," "cat eater" [?]). As is common with many such taunts, they don't make much sense on their own terms, but just seem like attempts to get Cheung mad. The New York Times (Jonah E. Bromwich) has a long story on the case, which includes these items: Mr. Harper said … the protest … was a weekly demonstration for transgender rights and "in solidarity with end Asian hate." … In interviews, Mr. Harper, 39, apologized for what he acknowledged were racist comments. He said the video had been…

California Constitution

Fixing Appellate Delay is the title of today's DJ column by ... Jon Eisenberg, of course. Three months ago he "filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Performance about egregious decisional delay by three justices of the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento, listing 150 appeals adjudicated in 2018-2020 which had languished for at least two years and as much as seven years from the completion of briefing to submission for decision." He then "asked the California Supreme Court to transfer an additional 57 still-unadjudicated, long-delayed appeals out of the 3rd District for speedy decision elsewhere -- which the Supreme Court denied." Since then he has found 94 more such 3rd District appeals, "for a total of 151 as of Feb. 16, 2021, on top of the previous 150 listed in [his] CJP complaint."Has this done any good? Well, for one, "[o]pinions have now been filed in about half of those additional 151 moldering appeals -- a…
[at the West Contra Costa County Unified School District (Northern California).] From the Memorandum of Understanding, which I'm told was just approved Friday: Our tenets for spring reopening are grounded in strong pedagogy aligned with the Multi Tiers of Student Supports (MTSS) model: … 2. Targeted, high needs students first. Wholesale return to in person instruction for the full day for all students is not possible within the county public health mandates at this time and the social distancing constraints …. 6. Identified High Needs Students are the first focus a. Definitions i. For the purposes of identification for this program, "high need students" are defined by the district, based upon the roster of students on March 15th, 2021 as Preschool through 12th grade students who fall into one or more of the following categories: 1. Homeless 2. Foster Youth 3. English language learners 4. African American students 5. Students unable to access online…
A recent Northern District of California ruling has stymied Google’s initial effort to kill a lawsuit alleging that it collected private data on users browsing in “Incognito” mode—a setting meant to keep search activity private. Judge Lucy Koh dismissed Google’s motion, effectively greenlighting the class action, Brown et al v. Google LLC et al, to proceed. Brown’s Claims The plaintiffs in Brown et al allege that even when users elect to browse in Incognito mode, Google continues to track and collect user browser history and other online activity data. Specifically, lead plaintiffs Chason Brown, Maria Nguyen, and William Byatt complain that after they turned off the collection of their data in Chrome, Google tools continued to pluck their personal data. This happens, according to the complaint, despite Google promising consumers that they can elect to “browse the web privately” and stay in “control of what information…
Vimeo is a video hosting service. Domen is a “former homosexual.” He posted videos to Vimeo that allegedly violated Vimeo’s policy against “the promotion of sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE). Vimeo notified Domen of the violation and gave him 24 hours to remove the videos or Vimeo would take action. Domen didn’t remove the videos, so Vimeo subsequently deleted Domen’s account. Domen sued Vimeo for violations of California’s Unruh Act, New York’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act, and the California Constitution. The lower court dismissed all of the claims. The Court’s Ruling The Second Circuit affirms the dismissal, relying solely on Section 230(c)(2)(A) (Domen didn’t pursue the CA Constitutional claim on appeal). This is unexpected, because many courts have recently used Section 230(c)(1) to protect content removal/account termination decisions. In comparison, Section 230(c)(2)(A) has languished…
In Valley Baptist Church v. City of San Rafael, (CA App., Feb. 26, 2021), a California state appellate court held that the "property taxation" exemption for property used exclusively for religious worship (California Constitution Art. XII, §3(f)) applies only to ad valorem taxes. Therefore plaintiff church was not exempt from the San Rafael's Paramedic Tax which is assessed on the basis of property square footage, not property value.
An Explanation of California’s Prop 57 - February 24, 2021 - Barhoma Law
For decades, criminal law was seen as a “one-way ratchet” in that, whenever changes were made to the criminal law, they almost always made the laws stricter. Typically, this is a function of high crime rates, and the political pressure lawmakers face from their constituents. Generally, lawmakers do not want to be seen as being “soft” on crime, so they continually propose increasingly strict laws to prove they mean business. However, California constitutional law provides citizens the ability to propose ballot initiatives. If someone can get enough signatures to support a ballot initiative, the entire state will vote on the initiative and, if it passes, it will become law. This is what happened with California’s Proposition 57. Proposition 57, or Prop 57, as it is more commonly known, is a ballot initiative passed in 2016. Prop 57 implements broad criminal justice reform as it pertains to parole consideration and juvenile offenders. Proponents of…