First Amendment

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech... more +
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits the government from making laws respecting the establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech or the press, preventing citizens from peacefully assembling, or interfering with citizens' ability to petition the government for redress of their grievances. The First Amendment is one of the most sacred aspects of the American legal tradition and has spawned a vast body of jurisprudence and commentary. less -
News & Analysis as of

What is a "Non-Disparagement" Clause and Why You May Not Want to Sign One

You settle your case, and the defendant agrees to pay you a lot of money. All that’s left to do is to sign a “standard” settlement agreement prepared by the defendant’s attorney. You get to page 10 and see a paragraph...more

Penalty! The California Court of Appeal Calls Foul on the NCAA’s Attempt to Seal Records of the USC/Reggie Bush Investigation

In a significant victory for open court filings, the California Court of Appeal rejected an effort by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) to seal 400 pages of documents in a dispute between the NCAA and a...more

Screenwriter SLAPPs Down Libel-in-Fiction Claim

In a victory for all authors of fiction, a screenwriter of the film “What Maisie Knew” has successfully defended a lawsuit that sought to hold him liable for defamation based on the portrayal of a character drawn from an 1897...more

Tinker, Take Two

Two legendary figures in the ongoing fight for student free speech rights are asking the Supreme Court to revisit this thorny area of First Amendment jurisprudence. John and Mary Beth Tinker were petitioners forty-six years...more

DWT Asked To Serve As Legal Counsel for Stand Up For Speech Litigation Project

Constitution Day 2013 was a pretty bad day for the Constitution on our public university campuses. That was the day that Robert Van Tuinen of Modesto Junior College in California was prevented from passing out copies of the...more

The Dark Knight, Black Panthers, Ghosts and Ginger Rogers: Increasing Protection for Use of Trademarks in Promotions for...

Content creators of all stripes strive for realism in their depictions of the world. This is for good reason – media is more effective, and more immersive, when viewers recognize it as a reflection of the real world. Despite...more

See You In Court - April 2015

The almost-interminable winter was finally over, and Peter Principal saw a significant uptick in the number of suspensions for offenses ranging from horseplay to assault. To make things worse, many of the students had their...more

Illinois Court Finds Teaching the “N” Word is Not Protected by the First Amendment

Recently, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois addressed whether a teacher could be disciplined for using the word “n*gger” in a sixth grade classroom. In Brown v. Board of Education of the...more

Social Media: Strategy and Implementation - Are you protected?

With more companies utilizing social media as a part of doing business, are you protecting yourself and your business from issues that can arise when implementing these strategies? Where do you stand legally when employees...more

Managing the Institutional Response to Race-Based Harassment

In recent weeks, several colleges and universities have faced a flurry of high-profile race-based harassment incidents, requiring a thoughtful balance of constitutional and fairness questions while ensuring that students feel...more

California Federal Court Rules ‘No Surcharge’ Law Unconstitutional

A federal district court in California has ruled that a state law prohibiting retailers from imposing a surcharge on credit card purchases placed an unconstitutional restriction on the retailers’ freedom of speech and is...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Unpopular Celebrities And The Right Of Publicity

In retrospect, the victories won by former college football stars in their right of publicity lawsuits against Electronic Arts and its hugely popular NCAA Football videogame franchise are hardly surprising. How could anyone...more

Recent Case Reminds Schools of First Amendment and Title VII Responsibilities in Employment Context

Recently, the Northern District of Illinois issued its opinion in Wong v. Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District 15. Although the court’s decision does not address novel arguments or depart from prior...more

John Young, Jr. and Neal Griffin Help Desloge, Missouri, Win Court of Appeals Case Against KKK

Stinson Leonard Street LLP attorneys John Young, Jr. and Neal Griffin recently scored a win for a Missouri city in a high-profile case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Young and Griffin represented...more

Two Rights of Publicity Decisions Explore the Boundaries of Commercial Speech in Commemorating Public Figures

Two recent rights of publicity cases illustrated the parameters of using a public figure’s name, likeness, identity or image for commercial purposes, without consent for commemorative purposes. But when does commemoration...more

Trademark Review | March 2015

Registration Cancelled Where Services Related to Mark Not Provided - Playdom, Inc. filed a petition to cancel Couture’s mark, arguing that the registration was void because Couture did not use the mark in commerce as of...more

County's Decision to Reject Controversial Ad Did Not Violate the First Amendment

Rejecting a First Amendment challenge, a county can choose to not run an advertisement on its own bus system if it might cause vandalism and violence, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals held this week. The court...more

Ninth Circuit Draws Clear Distinction Between California's Meeting Disruption Statutes

Skid Row Demonstration Disrupts a Neighborhood “Walk,” But Police Make an Arrest for the Wrong Violation - A Los Angeles Skid Row advocacy group faced off against those participating in a “walk” through the Skid Row...more

What You Didn’t Say Can Be Used Against You in a Court of Law: Perceived Speech is Not Protected Speech

What some might charitably consider a loophole in First Amendment protections of public employees received deferential treatment recently by the Third Circuit. ...more

Your Mom and the Courts Agree: Naked Online Pix are Not OK

Since the 1990s and the rise of the Internet and social media, each one of us has become increasingly aware of the risks and dangers of unwanted posts and how fast a “discreet” image can go viral....more

Crying Over (Virtual) Spilled Milk: ACLU Sues School District For Firing Employee Who Posted Vegan Beliefs Online

A recent lawsuit out of Ohio brings a local flare to what has otherwise become a relatively common story. We’ve all heard of teachers being disciplined or dismissed for posting something thoughtless online that led to...more

Delaware Legislature Introduces Rapid Arbitration Act

The Delaware Rapid Arbitration Act, House Bill 49, was recently introduced in the Delaware General Assembly. The proposed Act would establish a streamlined arbitration procedure to resolve disputes involving Delaware business...more

California Jury Finds “Blurred Lines” Infringed “Got to Give It Up”: Society’s Mixed Signals on Copying and Intellectual Property...

On Tuesday, March 10, 2015, a California federal jury returned a verdict finding that Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams had copied Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” when writing Thicke’s 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines.”...more

SLAPP’d in Orange County: Court of Appeal Confirms Right to Recover Post-Judgment Fees

California has an anti-SLAPP law that protects defendants from lawsuits brought to chill their First Amendment rights. The anti-SLAPP law, Code of Civil Procedure, section 425.16, provides “for the early dismissal of...more

Supreme Court Update: Perez V. Mortgage Bankers ASS'n (13-1041), Dep't Of Transportation V. ASS'n Of American Railroads (13-1080)...

It's been a great week for admin-law junkies; maybe not so much for the D.C. Circuit, which suffered two unanimous reversals in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass'n (13-1041) and Dep't of Transportation v. Ass'n of American...more

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