Free Speech

News & Analysis as of

Artful Pleading is Insufficient to Evade Application of California’s anti-SLAPP Statute In Cases Involving “Mixed Claims”

In Nancy Lee Sheley v. Linda Harrop (No. C977747, filed 3/20/17) the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District held allegations arising out of a protected activity, as defined in California’s anti-SLAPP...more

Fight Over Seattle’s Attempt To Unionize On-Demand Economy Reaches Critical Point

If the City of Seattle has its way, your next ride-sharing driver could be part of a first-of-its-kind union. And if on-demand economy companies have their way, the courts will block any such unionization efforts before they...more

Consumer Review Fairness Act Taking Effect

The Consumer Review Fairness Act (CRFA) began to take effect yesterday, March 14, 2017. One aim of the CRFA is to protect consumers’ ability to publicly review services and vendors without being subject to restrictions or...more

A Lesson on the Meaning of “Harangue” and “Oration”

In U.S. v. Brownstein, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, reversing the District Court, held that a federal law regulating conduct in the Supreme Court Building, 40 U.S.C. § 6134, which prohibits “harangues and...more

Battle Over Controversial Student Art in U.S. Capitol Lands in Court—First Amendment in Focus Again

For several weeks earlier this year, an odd battle was waged in the halls of the U.S. Capitol over a controversial work of art by a high school student placed there after an art competition in St. Louis. At issue is whether...more

Sky Signs, Colossal Murals and Billboards, Oh My

Two recent New York cases brought to mind the well-known poem about trees. No, not the one written by Joyce Kilmer. The other one, written by Ogden Nash. Who can ever forget those immortal words. “I think that I shall never...more

Officials’ Top 10 Things to Remember About Public Participation in Local Government

As the national political climate heated up recently, some local governments are facing spillover effects, with local and sometimes even out-of-town activists and provocateurs attending city council, school board and other...more

Is It the End of the Johnson Amendment as We Know It?

While speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 2, 2017, President Trump reaffirmed his commitment to repeal the law that restricts organizations that are tax exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue...more

Texas Supreme Court Confirms Broad Scope of Anti-SLAPP Law

Back in late 2015, I wrote a five-part series on the Expanding Scope of the TCPA or Texas’ Anti-SLAPP law. The Supreme Court of Texas confirmed our analysis last week with its decision in the ExxonMobil v. Coleman confirming...more

Money Talks: NY DOL Adopts Regulations on Employee Discussion of Wages

Seyfarth Synopsis: New regulations from the NY Department of Labor clarify employers’ ability to limit employees’ discussion of wages. The New York Department of Labor has promulgated regulations that permit employers to...more

Signs 4 JC Shown the Light by NH District Court

Thou shall have the right to an electronic sign? Apparently not. Just over a year ago, Hillside Baptist Church and Signs for Jesus (together, Plaintiffs or Church) filed a complaint in the District Court for New Hampshire,...more

Disparaging (or Maybe Not) Trademarks: The Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments on In Re Tam

On January 18, 2017, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding whether the Lanham Act’s provision refusing federal trademark registration to disparaging marks is invalid under the Free Speech Clause of the First...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Winter 2017

A Smooth Patch in a Rough Road? Governmental Transition and Intellectual Property - Whenever a new Congress convenes, some IP issues come to the fore while others take a back seat. Transition to a new administration in...more

First Amendment Implications of Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court

While President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch of the Tenth Circuit is expected to face withering scrutiny over the politically incendiary topics of abortion and gun rights, Jackson Walker attorney Shannon...more

"FDA Publications Double Down on Agency’s Ability to Prohibit Off-Label Communications, but Narrow Scope of Debate"

On the eve of a change in administration, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA or the Agency) released a flurry of documents regarding off-label communications and FDA’s ability to regulate such communications within...more

Presidents and the Press

Here’s a quiz for you. Match the President to the quote: “He uses tweets to go directly to the public while bypassing journalists.” “[The President] directed [name] to make speeches attacking newspapers and the...more

The 2016 Roundup of Key California Anti-SLAPP Decisions

In 2016, the California Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued important opinions interpreting California’s anti-SLAPP statute (C.C.P. § 425.16 et seq.), once again broadly construing its application. See...more

Lee v. Tam: Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments On Lanham Act Section 2(a) Prohibition of Registration of Disparaging Marks

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments in Lee v. Tam to examine the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a). Section 2(a) prevents the registration of...more

"2016-17 Supreme Court Update"

In a season of political surprises, the eight-member U.S. Supreme Court has stirred no controversy with its decisions so far this term. The handful of opinions the Court released in the fall were unanimous and, for the most...more

Texas Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Jackson Walker Media Clients in Important Free Speech Case

Houston partner John K. Edwards argued before the Texas Supreme Court in September 2016 on behalf of a newspaper and reporter in an important libel case that started in 2003 concerning an article published in a Fort Bend...more

Guest Post – Midnight Madness - The FDA Continues To Discount First Amendment Implications Of Restrictions On Off-Label Promotion

This guest post is from Liz Minerd, an associate at Reed Smith. She previously wrote the post on the FDA’s off-label promotion meeting last November, so when she indicated that she’d like to write about the FDA’s “Midnight...more

EEOC Seeks Input Regarding Proposed Harassment Enforcement Guidance

On January 10, 2017, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued proposed enforcement guidance on preventing workplace harassment for which it seeks input before implementation. The deadline for...more

Eighth Circuit Hints at Unconstitutionality of Missouri Restrictions on Alcohol Advertising

Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit weighed in on the legality of restrictions on alcohol advertising under the First Amendment, issuing an opinion in Missouri Broadcasters Association v. Lacy that could...more

This Year’s Top Ten IP Cases

#10 Design Patent Damages § 289 - Samsung Elecs. Co., v. Apple Inc., 580 U.S. _ (Dec. 6, 2016) - In the case of a multicomponent product, the relevant article of manufacture for arriving at a damages award under...more

Dear Littler: Can A Boss Fire Someone for Off-Duty Political Activities?

Dear Littler: I saw one of my employees on the local news the other night participating in a political rally over the weekend. We try to maintain a tension-free workplace. Can I discipline him for this conduct? Can I at least...more

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