First Amendment

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The defendant's application to the IRS to qualify an organization as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization was a protected activity under CCP 425.16(e)(1) or (2).  It was a submission in an official proceeding before an executive agency whose action was not purely ministerial but involved the exercise of judgment and discretion.  By contrast, filing of articles of incorporation and a statement… Read More

To determine whether speech or other conduct falls within the scope of CCP 425.16(e)(4)'s catchall provision, the court must make a two-step analysis, first asking what public issue or issue of public interest the defendant's conduct or speech implicates, and second asking what functional relationship exists between the speech and the public conversation about that issue of public interest--i.e., whether… Read More

The trial court correctly denied defendants' Anti-SLAPP motion to strike plaintiff's claims under the UCL and CLRA based on defendants' allegedly false statements in releases or other statements and advertisements that Michael Jackson was the lead artist on all tracks in a posthumous CD.  Even if the defendants' statements were protected speech under CCP 425.16(e), plaintiff showed a probability of… Read More

A plaintiff may apply to the court for leave to proceed by a fictitious name if privacy concerns outweigh the First Amendment interest in public access to judicial proceedings.  Here, the employee on whose behalf DFEH sued for employment discrimination said that revealing his identity and caste would subject him and his family to discrimination and jeopardize their safety in… Read More

A public entity (school board) violated plaintiff's First Amendment rights by blocking him from posting on the social media (Facebook) it used to communicate with constituents about public issues.  The page was a public forum.  Blocking plaintiff from using the page altogether was an overly broad restriction of his free speech.  Less restrictive measures would serve the entity's interest in… Read More

Four individuals protested the Golden Gate racetrack's allegedly improper treatment of race horses by sneaking onto the track, linking their arms by PVC pipes and lying across the track in a manner that prevented the racetrack from holding races.  The racetrack owner sued the four individuals for trespass and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage, naming Direct Action as an… Read More

Flags often are raised as a form of government speech on government-owned property.  The government has the right to control its own speech including what flags it flies.  However, in this case, Boston allowed private groups to fly their flags from government-owned poles about 20 times a year.  Those flag-flying days were not government speech.  So on those days, the… Read More

Austin's ordinance banning signs advertising goods or services not sold on the premises where the sign is located did not infringe sign owners' First Amendment rights.  Even though the ordinance required some examination of the contents of the advertising to determine whether it related to goods or services sold on the premises, the ordinance was facially content-neutral.  Austin's ’s on-/off-premises… Read More

This decision affirms a preliminary injunction issued against the California Attorney General and private parties preventing them from filing suit under Prop. 65 to require food manufacturers to give the standard Prop. 65 warning about acrylamide being a chemical supposedly "known" to cause cancer.  Under Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel, 471 U.S. 626 (1985), the compelled speech (the required… Read More

A district court may approve a class action settlement that provides monetary relief only in the form of cy pres payments to non-parties, so long as distribution to class members is not possible and the recipients of the cy pres payments are appropriately chosen in light of the nature of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit, the objectives of the underlying statutes, and… Read More

AB 5 and its amended version Lab. Code 2778 et seq. does not violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments in its application to freelance journalists and others who supply creative content to newspapers, films and other media.  The regulation does not single out those engaged in speech for harsher treatment.  The exemption for some freelancers may not be as broad… Read More

This decision affirms a district court order dismissing a defamation suit under Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 425.16.  Maddow was a TV personality and host of a program espousing liberal political views.  In one program she expressed glee over a report by another news organization that one of Herring's ultra-conservative commentators was being paid by the Kremlin for propaganda.  The speech… Read More

A statement of economic interests (Form 700) that California public officials must file is a "political work" for purposes of CCP 425.17(d)(2), and thus any claim arising from its creation, dissemination, exhibition, advertisement, or other similar promotion is not subject to CCP 425.17(b) which exempts from CCP 425.16 suits brought in the public interest.  This means that a claim based… Read More

The 2017 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights Act violates the First Amendment rights of staff members of long term care facilities by imposing criminal penalties on them for repeatedly referring to a facility resident by other than the resident’s preferred name or pronoun when clearly informed of the name and pronoun.  (H&S Code… Read More

California's requirement that charitable organizations disclose to the attorney general Schedule B to their Form 990 filing with the IRS--a schedule that lists the organization's major donors--violates the First Amendment.  The disclosure causes a major intrusion on the donor's First Amendment right to freedom of association and is not justified by the public interest in preventing fraud or other wrongs… Read More

The regional stay at home order banning public gatherings to avoid spread of COVID-19 which forbade restaurants from indoor or outdoor service (other than take-out or drive-thru service) did not unconstitutionally restrict the First Amendment-protected right of restaurants to present live nude adult entertainment since the health measure was applied to all restaurants regardless of whether they engaged in adult… Read More

There was no due process violation in the city's hiring outside counsel on an hourly fee basis to prosecute nuisance abatement suits.  Also, a fee award to the City as the prevailing party in the litigation was not an undue burden on the defendant's First Amendment right to petittion government by defending the nuisance abatement suit.  Health & Safety Code… Read More

The US Government grants NGOs funds to fight HIV/AIDS abroad, but only if they agree to have a policy expressly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.  The Supreme Court held that this requirement violated the First Amendment insofar as it applied to American NGOs.  But this decision holds that the requirement does not offend the Constitution insofar as it applies to… Read More

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