Free Speech First Amendment

News & Analysis as of

Lawyer Sues DDTC Over "Public Domain"

A New York City attorney is suing the U.S. State Department over a proposed change to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The change pertains to how the regulations define “public domain,” and, if...more

Take Your Damn Free Speech Elsewhere: T Public Property Not a Legal Public Forum

The MBTA, we learned this week, is reworking its already strict guidelines for advertising on T property. Metro Boston’s transit system wants to prohibit “ads concerning political issues or matters of public debate,”...more

Protestors at Your Door—First Amendment Law Insight

Protest politics appears to be reaching new heights not seen since the 1960s. Protests on Wall Street, at public universities and in private places have become a favored method for addressing social issues. At the Mall of...more

Florida “No Credit Card Surcharge” Law Unconstitutional, 11th Circuit Rules

A Florida law that prohibits merchants from imposing a surcharge on credit card purchases but allows a discount for cash purchases violates the First Amendment, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th...more

Court Dismisses Police Officers’ Class Action Complaint Regarding Anti-Tattoo Policy

In a recent order in Medici, et al. v. City of Chicago, Case No. 15 C 5891, 2015 WL 6501153 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 27, 2015), Judge Charles P. Kocoras of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed a...more


In appealing the cancellation of six trademarks, the Washington Redskins filed their opening brief in the Fourth Circuit this week. Cancellation of the team’s REDSKINS trademarks was upheld by a federal district court in...more

Employment Matters Newsletter, Fall 2015

With Experimental Benefits Come Additional Legal Considerations - Corporate experimentation, combined with innovative employment practices designed to promote more flexible work environments, may be transformative. These...more

Second Circuit Upholds New York Ban on Credit Card Surcharges

Why it matters - New York’s ban on credit card sales transactions surcharges was upheld by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, reversing a federal court judge’s 2013 ruling striking down the law and joining the majority...more

First Amendment Notes: Amicus Briefs In Pacira & Application of IMS v. Sorrell

Here we discuss a couple of developments involving (actually or potentially) the application of the First Amendment to the FDA’s increasingly battered prohibition against truthful promotion of off-label use....more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update - October 2015

The "Dancing Baby" Case—Ninth Circuit Rules That "Fair Use" Must First Be Considered Before Sending Takedown Notices Under the DMCA - Why it matters: On September 14, 2015, the Ninth Circuit ruled in Lenz v. Universal...more

Second Circuit Rejects Constitutional Challenge to New York “No Credit Card Surcharge” Law

A New York state law that prohibits merchants from imposing a surcharge on credit card purchases does not violate the First Amendment or the Due Process Clause, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently ruled....more

Connecticut Supreme Court Expands Protection for Would-Be Whistleblowers

Connecticut whistleblowers were handed a siren to sound the alarm on employers this week. In interpreting the state constitution in Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors, LLC, SC 19323 (Conn. Sup. Ct., official release Oct. 13,...more

Connecticut Bolsters Employee Whistleblower Protection

Based on a new and unique interpretation of the state constitution, the Connecticut Supreme Court has greatly increased the potential exposure of employers to damage claims by whistleblowers. In Trusz v. UBS Realty Investors...more

Southern District of New York Finds Amarin Pharma, Inc.’s Off-Label Promotion Is Protected Speech; Company Cannot Be Prosecuted...

Pharmaceutical industry and constitutional buffs have been closely watching Amarin Pharma Inc. v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The case presented the (not wholly novel) question whether the First Amendment protects...more

Of Slants, Skins and Signs: The Coming First Amendment Showdown

Are we heading for a constitutional showdown over Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act? Will the Supreme Court strike down this prohibition on disparaging marks as an abridgement of First Amendment rights? It is certainly...more

It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again: FDA Sued Again in Off-Label Promotion Case

To quote the late Yogi Berra, it must feel like déjà vu all over again for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (or, if you prefer, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s song, “Déjà Vu” (“We have all been here before”)). Fresh off...more

Businesses rejoice but poster beware: Yelp ordered to identify anonymous reviewer

Many business have suffered the misery and frustration of a harshly negative, anonymous online review. That anonymity, critics argue, frees the reviewer from worries about the need for accuracy and, worse yet, encourages the...more

Judge Orders Yelp to Identify Anonymous Negative Commenter

On September 15, a judge in Boston ruled that Yelp must reveal the identity of an anonymous commenter who wrote a negative review of a jeweler on the online review site. The order to non-party Yelp in the attempted...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

U.S. Supreme Court Affirms That Content-Based Sign Codes Violate The First Amendment

Now, more than ever, local municipalities should review their municipal sign laws to ensure that signs are not being regulated based on their message. This is in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that an...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Law That Bans Ballot Selfies

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire recently struck down on First Amendment grounds a 2014 amendment to New Hampshire Revised Statute 659:35 that made it illegal for New Hampshire voters to post pictures...more

Can you be sued for posting your opinions on the Internet?

A restaurant tells customers it may sue them if they post unfavorable reviews on the Internet. A flooring company sues a customer who complained on social media that he had an “absolutely horrible experience” with the...more

GAME OF (STICKS &) STONES – Prior Restraint & Online Defamation

In previous posts, we have explored several aspects of internet defamation – including suing anonymous internet and twitter users and the protections afforded to internet users and providers for re-publishing content under...more

Texas Anti-SLAPP Law: The Expanding Scope of the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act – Part 5 (the conclusion)

To conclude the series, we look at one more opinion — Serafine v. Blunt, No. 03-12-00726-CV, 2015 WL 2061922 (Tex. App.—Austin May 1, 2015). This case dealt with a property dispute, but the real interest comes from the...more

Guest Post - Game of Thrones, the FDA Under Attack, An In-House View of Amarin

Today's guest post is a first for this blog in two ways, first, our guest poster is anonymous. Second, our guest post is from an in-house source. The two are, of course, related. While it is important to us as lawyers that...more

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