3rd Circuit Finds 1st Amendment Violations In School Discipline For Online Postings

PHILADELPHIA - (Mealey's) In rulings issued June 13 in two cases that it reheard en banc, the Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals found that schools do not have the authority to regulate students' speech that occurs off school grounds if the speech does not pose a significant threat of substantial...

Lawsuit Against Kardashians Over Debit Card Struck Down

(AP) A judge has thrown out a $75 million lawsuit filed against the Kardashian sisters after they yanked their endorsement of a prepaid debit card that was criticized for its high fees, saying the reality show stars had no duty to promote a product that might be considered unlawful. Full version available...

Pennsylvania Teens Can't Be Suspended For MySpace Parodies

PHILADELPHIA - (AP) Two Pennsylvania teens cannot be disciplined at school for MySpace parodies of their principals created on home computers, a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a high-profile case involving students and free speech. The postings, however lewd or offensive, were not likely to cause...

Supreme Court: No First Amendment Protection For Government Employee's 'Petition'

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) A government employer's actions alleged to be retaliatory are not limited by the First Amendment's petition clause unless the employee's petition is related to a matter of public concern, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 20, vacating a ruling by the Third...

Supreme Court Says Vermont Law Restricting Prescribing Data Is Unconstitutional

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Vermont's law restricting the sale of doctors' drug-prescribing information to data miners for use in marketing drugs to doctors is an unconstitutional, impermissible restriction on free speech content and on speakers with which the state disagrees, the U.S....

Vermont Prescription Drug Data Mining Law Struck Down

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) States cannot stop drug manufacturers and data-mining companies from using information about the prescription drugs individual doctors like to prescribe, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday. The court voted 6-3 to strike down a Vermont data-mining law aimed at controlling health...

Conservatives Limit Consumer, Rights Class Action Lawsuits

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) The Supreme Court's conservative majority made it harder for people to band together to sue the nation's largest businesses in the two most far-reaching rulings of the term the justices are wrapping up on Monday. The two cases putting new limits on class-action lawsuits...

Supreme Court Limits State Rules On Campaign Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) The Supreme Court imposed new limits Monday on states trying to restrain the influence of money in politics, striking down a law that tied the amount of public funds a candidate receives to how much privately funded rivals spend. The 5-4 ruling was the latest in a series of decisions...

High Court Rules Against Banning Violent Video Sales To Kids

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (AP) States cannot ban the sale or rental of ultraviolent video games to children, the Supreme Court ruled Monday, rejecting such limits as a violation of young people's First Amendment rights and leaving it up to parents and the multibillion-dollar gaming industry to decide what...

Florida Lawsuit: Can Doctors Ask Patients About Guns In The House?

MIAMI - (AP) Doctors in Florida are fighting a first-of-its-kind law requiring them to have a legitimate safety concern before they start asking a patient about guns. The physicians contend the new law is too broad and they should be free to ask patients and parents about firearms. . . . Full version...

Group Sues To Stop Texas Governor's Prayer Day

AUSTIN, Texas - (AP) A group of atheists and agnostics filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to stop an evangelical Christian prayer event next month that was proposed and is endorsed by Texas' governor. The Freedom from Religion Foundation argues in its lawsuit filed in Houston that Republican...

Judge Tosses Attempt To Stop Texas Prayer Rally

HOUSTON - (AP) A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop Gov. Rick Perry from sponsoring a national day of Christian prayer and fasting, ruling Thursday that the group of atheists and agnostics did not have legal standing to sue. U.S. District Judge Gray H. Miller said the Freedom From...

Federal Judge Blocks Graphic Cigarette Warnings

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) Saying graphic new cigarette pack warnings ordered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration violate companies' First Amendment rights by compelling speech, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Nov. 7 issued a preliminary injunction halting...

Supreme Court Decision To Recognize 'Ministerial Exemption' In Employment Discrimination Cases 'Resounding Victory' For Religious Organizations

By Darrell VanDeusen In a decision that many are calling a resounding victory for religious organizations, the Supreme Court has unanimously decided that the First Amendment's establishment and free exercise clauses create a "ministerial exception" that bars an ADA lawsuit (and by extension...

Graphic Images On Cigarette Packs Are Unconstitutional Compelled Speech, Judge Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The Food and Drug Administration's proposed graphic warnings for cigarette packs violate the First Amendment bar against compelled speech, a District of Columbia federal judge ruled Feb. 29 in granting summary judgment in favor of five tobacco companies ( R.J. Reynolds...

Split 6th Circuit Says Graphic Cigarette Pack Warnings Are Constitutional

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - (Mealey's) Given that tobacco companies have learned to circumvent bans on marketing to minors, a divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals said March 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposal for large, graphic warnings on packs pursuant to the 2009 Family Smoking...

U.S. Supreme Court Holds Secret Service Immune From 1st Amendment Claim

WASHINGTON, D.C. - (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 4 that a Colorado man may not pursue his First Amendment claim against two Secret Service agents because they are entitled to qualified immunity ( Virgil D. "Gus" Reichle, Jr., et al. v. Steven Howards , No. 11-262, U.S. Sup...

William A. Ruskin: Lawyers' Use Of Internet To Influence Jurors

By William A. Ruskin In an earlier article, we discussed the danger posed to an impartial jury system by the " Googling Juror ." In his article titled " Lawyers' Use of Internet to Influence Jurors " (New York Law Journal, 6/12/12), Michael Hoenig cautions that "the danger...

Texas Psychologist's Lawsuit Survives Motion To Dismiss

By William Perry Pendley DENVER - A Texas psychologist, who is also an attorney and is recognized nationally for her expertise and experience, on June 26 survived a motion to dismiss her lawsuit alleging that the State of Texas bars her unconstitutionally from accurately describing who she is and...

Nebraska Lawyer Seeks Class Certification And Injunction

By William Perry Pendley DENVER - A Nebraska attorney on Oct. 12 filed additional pleadings in his lawsuit against the Nebraska State Bar Association in federal district court in Lincoln charging that it violates his rights under the Constitution's First and Fourteenth Amendments. Scott Lautenbaugh...

William A. Ruskin: First Amendment Bars Pharmaceutical Company Prosecution

By William A. Ruskin The Second Circuit [on Dec. 3] rendered its much-anticipated decision in United States v. Caronia [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the most important Food Drug and Cosmetics Act enforcement case pending in the country. Not only did the court's 2-1 holding...

Nebraska Lawyer's Lawsuit Against State Bar Association Will Go Forward

DENVER - A Nebraska federal district court on Feb. 4 refused to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a Nebraska attorney who sued the Nebraska State Bar Association in federal district court in Lincoln charging that it violates his rights under both the Constitution's First and 14th Amendments. The State Bar...

William A. Ruskin: New Draft FDA Guidance On Off-label Uses Raises Concerns

By William A. Ruskin | On March 3, 2014, FDA made available for comment a revised draft of its " Guidance for Industry: Distributing Scientific and Medical Publications on Unapproved New Uses--Recommended Practices ". The revised guidance seeks to clarify and expand upon FDA's 2009 draft...

DLA Piper: California Federal Court Finds 1st Amendment Does Not Preclude Sporting Event Participants From Asserting Right-of-Publicity Claims Against Broadcasters

By Matt Ganas | On April 11, 2014, a California federal court issued a First Amendment ruling that has potentially significant implications for broadcasters in the sports-media industry. Specifically, the Northern District of California’s Judge Claudia Wilken held that “the First Amendment...

U.S. Supreme Court: Employee Speech Before Grand Jury Is Protected

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey’s) An employee’s testimony before a federal grand jury was protected under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution because he spoke as a citizen on a matter of public concern, not pursuant to his job responsibilities, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled...