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

First Amendment


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“Faith Can’t Abrogate a Contract; A California state court goes too far in a ruling against Scientology’s arbitration agreement”: Law professor Michael J. Broyde will have this op-ed in Wednesday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal. And at “The Volokh Conspiracy,” Eugene Volokh has a post titled “Scientology Arbitration and the First Amendment: Some Questions About Bixler v. Superior Court.” You can access last Wednesday’s unpublished decision of the California Court of Appeal for the Second District, Division Five, at this link.
Last week, the California Court of Appeal (Bixler v. Superior Court) refused to apply a broad Scientology arbitration agreement to a lawsuit brought by ex-members who claimed they were mistreated in various ways after they left the Church: Individuals have a First Amendment right to leave a religion. We hold that once petitioners had terminated their affiliation with the Church, they were not bound to its dispute resolution procedures to resolve the claims at issue here, which are based on alleged tortious conduct occurring after their separation from the Church and do not implicate resolution of ecclesiastical issues…. I asked Prof. Michael Helfand (Pepperdine) about this, since I know he's written extensively on religious arbitration, and he kindly passed along this reaction, which strikes me as very interesting and useful: Last week, a California Court of Appeals issued a surprising decision, declining to enforce religious arbitration agreements between a number…
NewsGuard is a company created by a team of journalists who assess the credibility and transparency of news and information, including whether a website repeatedly publishes false content. Recently, it found that 113 websites out of 7,000 reviewed were spreading election misinformation in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 presidential vote and are still active in doing so.  Of these, 81% have continued to spread false claims about the election and its aftermath, including about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Further, according to NewsGuard, “the vast majority of the sites spreading election misinformation a year ago have continued to promote the narrative that the election was not legitimate, while defending, downplaying or redirecting blame for the riot.” Under the First Amendment, there is little that government can – or should – do to intervene in limiting this damaging…
I've just finished up a rough draft of my The Right to Defy Criminal Demands article, and I thought I'd serialize it here, minus most of the footnotes (which you can see in the full PDF). I'd love to hear people's reactions and recommendations, since there's still plenty of time to edit it. You can also be previous posts (and any future posts, as they come up), here. [* * *] It is generally a crime—disturbing the peace or disorderly conduct—to engage in offensive behavior "tending reasonably to arouse alarm, anger, or resentment in others" in public. Police officers thus generally have the power to order people to stop such behavior, in order to prevent a fight. This is the font of the "fighting words" doctrine, which allows people to be punished for personal insults that tend to lead to a fight. The Court has famously held that such "epithets [and] personal abuse" are constitutionally unprotected, because they…
Exactly one year after the Jan. 6 violence at the Capitol, Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced his support for a bill that his office said “would outlaw attempts by candidates and elected officials to spread lies about free and fair elections when it has the likelihood to stoke violence.” That bill would make such lies a gross misdemeanor, subject to up to 364 days in jail. Inslee’s motives are laudable. But his solution—jailing people for political speech—raises substantial First Amendment problems. The debate playing out in Washington state is a broader illustration of the fragility of the robust First Amendment protections that courts have provided to speech for the past century. Some officials and commentators across the political spectrum are increasingly willing to sacrifice core free speech protections to address the problems of the day. And this illiberal trend should concern everyone, regardless of partisan affiliation.  In the…
As President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took office one year ago this month, the ACLU published a civil rights and liberties wishlist for the new administration. The Biden-Harris White House had its work cut out for them: In the wake of the previous administration, the list of harms to repair was long. But simply undoing bad policy isn’t enough: We called on President Biden to proactively fortify and protect our rights across issues areas, from racial justice, to LGBTQ rights, to immigration. Here’s a look at what has been accomplished, and the many asks from our list that remain unanswered:Criminal Justice | Disability Rights | Freedom of Religion and Belief | Immigration | LGBT & HIV | National Security | Racial Justice | Reproductive Freedom | Speech, Privacy, and Technology | Voting | Women’s Rights   Criminal JusticeEnd the drug war and grant mass clemency The war on drugs has done nothing to reduce drug use rates. Instead, it has…

Anti-SLAPP


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December 2021 Law Faculty Publications & News - January 24, 2022 - fjhinojosa
Throughout the month of December, the Law Library received alerts for full-time TTU Law Faculty publications and news. Below is a compilation of those daily alerts for December 1st to December 31st, 2021. Articles, Essays, and Reviews 1. Gerry W. Beyer, 19 & 19A, West’s Legal Forms – Residential Real Estate (5th ed. 2021-22 Supp.). 2. Gerry W. Beyer, Texas Law of Wills (9 & 10 Tex. Prac.) (4th ed. 2021-20221 ed.). Quotes 1. Prof. Hardberger is quoted in the following article: Zoe Kurland, In Rural West Texas, The Demand for Well Water is Growing, Marketplace (December 14, 2021), available at https://www.marketplace.org/2021/12/14/rural-west-texas-well-water-demand-is-growing/. Citations 1. Prof. Spain’s article Collaborative Law: A Critical Reflection on Whether a Collaborative Orientation Can Be Ethically Incorporated Into the Practice of Law is cited in §§ 4:29 & 6:16 of the following book: Ann M. Haralambie,…
If you have been sued for defamation and if you have an applicable insurance policy that may cover the claim, you may be able to get your insurance company to pay for a lawyer of your choosing. Why is this important? Because insurance companies regularly work with “panel” defense lawyers who are generalists. These lawyers handle all different kinds of cases. They rarely have substantial experience handling internet defamation cases or anti-SLAPP motions. The harsh reality is that this is a complicated area of law. You want an experienced attorney–not a jack of all trades. Even better for the insurance companies is that panel lawyers have a strong incentive to please the insurance company because the company gives them a lot of recurring business. In short, even if the panel attorney is experienced, there is a possibility he or she may be looking after the insurance company’s interest–and not your own. So how do you convince the insurance company to…
From Zhou v. Breed, decided Friday by the Ninth Circuit (Judges John Owens and Michelle Friedland, and visiting Sixth Circuit Judge Danny Boggs): Appellants allege that both [S.F. Mayor London] Breed and Clear Channel violated their First Amendment right to free speech. To the extent that Appellants argue that Breed, or any public official, violated their First Amendment rights simply by speaking critically of a billboard or calling for its removal, that theory is squarely foreclosed by precedent. We have previously joined a "host of other circuits" in holding that "public officials may criticize practices that they would have no constitutional ability to regulate, so long as there is no actual or threatened imposition of government power or sanction." Am. Fam. Ass'n, Inc. v. City & County of San Francisco (9th Cir. 2002); see also id. ("[L]etters which encouraged but did not threaten or intimidate landowner to terminate lease with billboard…
In many cases when you are sued for defamation and present a claim to your homeowner’s insurance company, the company may agreed to defend you under a “reservation of rights.” This means that there is a question as to whether the company is required to cover you under the policy, i.e. the agreement between you and the insurance company. The reason insurance companies do this is because the duty to defend claims is broader than the duty to indemnify claims. Insurance companies know that coverage disputes do not necessarily relieve the insurance company from having to defend you. If an insurance company properly and timely reserves their right to dispute coverage later, and if they are correct, they will not be bound by a judgment against you. What this means in practical terms is that the insurance company will agree to pay for your legal defense and any costs associated with defending the lawsuit. However, they will not agree to indemnify you, which means…
On December 27, 2021, the California Court of Appeal issued two decisions addressing whether claims arising from statements made in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) fall within California’s statute designed to deter “strategic lawsuits against public participation,” or “SLAPPs,” arising from protected speech.  In Sugarman v. Benett, No. B307753, 2021 WL 6111725  (Cal. App. Dec. 27, 2021) (“Benett”), and Sugarman v. Brown, No. B308318, 2021 WL 6111718 (Cal. App. Dec. 27, 2021) (“Brown”), the Court held that state law claims arising out of disclosures in federal SEC filings may be subject to California’s anti-SLAPP statute, giving defendants a powerful tool to dispose meritless claims early in the process. Benett and Brown stem from the same underlying complaint, brought by the former CEO of Banc of California (“Banc”) and his trust (collectively…
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 ● Dirk Voorhoof, writing for Inforrm’s Blog, discusses a trio of recent criminal defamation suits from Belgium in “Anti-SLAPP: Professor goes free after vexatious and frivolous suit.” The three cases were brought by leaders of anti-vax organizations against a virologist, a journalist and an academic for critical comments made during interviews and on social media. While Courts in two cases found no defamation, only the third recognized a counterclaim for vexatious and frivolous litigation – aka Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation or…

California Constitution


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I've just finished up a rough draft of my The Right to Defy Criminal Demands article, and I thought I'd serialize it here, minus most of the footnotes (which you can see in the full PDF). I'd love to hear people's reactions and recommendations, since there's still plenty of time to edit it. You can also be previous posts (and any future posts, as they come up), here. [* * *] Let's return to situation 3 from the Introduction: Craig comes to rob Danielle's store; he is demanding money, and Danielle has reason to think that, if she doesn't comply, he'll injure some of the patrons. Does this make Danielle legally liable if she refuses to comply, on the theory that she has an affirmative duty to protect her business visitors, and failing to give in to the demands violates that duty? No, several courts have ruled, expressly recognizing a "no duty" rule. The most prominent case is Kentucky Fried Chicken of California, Inc. v.…
It's a lawsuit by the San Diego Unified School District against the State of California, so there are big players involved.  It's also a suit that involves a fair piece of money; the litigation is about $1.5 billion in school funding that California provided to various school districts in 2017 and 2018.  California says that cash basically wiped out all of its (massive) financial obligations to the school districts, but the districts say that violates the California Constitution.  Hence the lawsuit.San Diego Unified is a big-ticket client itself, but it's not just them suing; it's also San Jose Unified and a half-dozen other school districts as well.  In short, this is no small litigation.  California's represented by the Attorney General.  Who's representing the school districts?According to the opinion, anyway, a sole practitioner.That just seemed somewhat implausible to me.  How would a sole practitioner have…
Gun owners seek injunction against California law authorizing sharing of personal information for research - January 6, 2022 - Angela Mauroni | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US
An group of anonymous gun owners (“the plaintiffs”) filed a federal Complaint Wednesday against California Attorney General (AG) Rob Bonta to prevent enforcement of Assembly Bill 171 (AB171), signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in September, which allows the state to share personal information of gun owners with gun violence research organizations. The plaintiffs allege that the law is unconstitutional under Article IV of the California Constitution, and the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the US Constitution. The plaintiffs entered personal information into a state registry maintained by the California Department of Justice called the Automated Firearms System in accordance with California law for owning and/or possessing a firearm. According to the Complaint, that personal information includes “name, address, place of birth, telephone number, occupation, California driver’s license or ID number, race, sex, height, weight, hair color, eye…
No, California law enforcement officers do not need probable cause to stop a motorist at a DUI sobriety checkpoint. You could get arrested legally at a DUI sobriety checkpoint without the officer having probable cause to stop you. You could, however, challenge the arrest if the checkpoint did not meet all the legal requirements our state law imposes on DUI sobriety checkpoints. A California DUI attorney can talk with you and examine whether a dismissal of the charges could be possible. The Requirements for a DUI Sobriety Checkpoint to be Legal Under the California Constitution In the 1987 case of Ingersoll v. Palmer, the California Supreme Court compared sobriety checkpoints to other administrative inspections, like airport screening searches. The Court held that law enforcement officers do not have to follow the 4th amendment at DUI roadblocks because these are administrative inspections, not searches and seizures. The Court explained its decision to treat sobriety checkpoints…
District Court Enjoins Controversial Texas House Bill 20 - December 15, 2021 - Aaron Rubin and Heather Whitney
Over the past several years, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the federal law that provides social media platforms with immunity from liability for user content and was once hailed as “the law that gave us the modern Internet,” has gone from relative obscurity (at least outside of tech circles) to being a household name and politicians’ favorite punching bag. Interestingly, the objections to Section 230 come from advocates on both sides of the aisle. Those on both the left and the right see the law as permitting platforms to maintain content moderation policies that result in significant social ills—they just tend to disagree about what those social ills are, and thus what those content moderation policies ought to be. Generally speaking, advocates on the left see platforms as being too permissive in allowing misinformation to run rampant and blame that spread of misinformation for everything from Trump’s presidential win to, earlier…
Our readers have requested that we post the full text of the California e bike law that was signed into law in October 2015 that governs the use of e bike on California roadways and some bike paths. Again please check individual vehicle code sections to insure that changes have not been made since this bill was issued in October 2015. Assembly Bill No. 1096 An act to amend Sections 406, 12804.9, 21113, 21207.5, and 24016 of, and to add Sections 312.5 and 21213 to, the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles. [ Approved by Governor  October 07, 2015. Filed with Secretary of State  October 07, 2015. ] LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST AB 1096, Chiu. Vehicles: electric bicycles. Existing law defines a “motorized bicycle” or a “moped” as a 2-wheeled or 3-wheeled device having fully operative pedals for propulsion by human power, or having no pedals if powered solely by electrical energy, and an automatic transmission and motor, as specified. Existing…