Articles Posted in Communications Law

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At issue was the validity of a court order entered upon default judgment in a defamation case, insofar as it directed Yelp Inc. to remove certain consumer reviews posted on its website. Plaintiffs brought the underlying lawsuit alleging that certain consumer reviews posted on Yelp were libelous. Yelp was not named as a defendant and did not participate in the judicial proceedings that led to the eventual default judgment. Yelp only became involved in the litigation after being served with a copy of the judgment and order directing that the challenged reviews be purged. Yelp field a motion to set aside and vacate the judgment, arguing that, to the extent the removal order would impose upon Yelp a duty to remove the reviews at issue, the order was barred under the Communications Decency Act of 1996, 47 U.S.C. 230. The trial court denied the motion. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that the order as to Yelp was beyond the scope of section 230. The Supreme Court reversed, holding the the court of appeal adopted too narrow a construction of section 230 and that section 230 immunity applied in this case. View "Hassell v. Bird" on Justia Law

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Communications configured by the social media user to be public fall within the lawful consent exception to the federal Stored Communications Act’s prohibition on disclosure by social media providers of any communication. See 18 U.S.C. 2701 et seq. The district court denied motions to quash filed by Petitioners - Facebook, Inc., Instagram, LLC, and Twitter, Inc. Petitioners sought to quash subpoenas served on them by two criminal defendants seeking public and private communications from the social media accounts of a homicide victim and a prosecution witness. The appellate court directed the trial court to quash the subpoenas. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeal’s decision and remanded the matter, holding (1) the court of appeal correctly found the subpoenas unenforceable under the Act with respect to communications addressed to specific persons and communications that were and have remained configured by the registered user to be restricted; but (2) the court of appeal erred in holding that section 2702 of the Act does not bar disclosure by providers of communications that were configured by the registered user to be public and that remained so configured at the time the subpoenas were issued. Rather, under section 2702(b)(3)’s lawful consent exception, a provider must disclose any such communication pursuant to a subpoena that is authorized under state law. View "Facebook, Inc. v. Superior Court of the City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

Posted in: Communications Law

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Plaintiff, a resident of Los Angeles, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of himself and similarly situated individuals challenging the city's telephone users tax (TUT) and seeking refund of funds collected under the TUT over the previous two years. At issue was whether the Government Code section 910 allowed taxpayers to file a class action claim against a municipal government entity for the refund of local taxes. The court held that neither Woosley v. State of California, which concerned the interpretation of statutes other than section 910, nor article XIII, section 32 of the California Constitution, applied to the court's determination of whether section 910 permitted class claims that sought the refund of local taxes. Therefore, the court held that the reasoning in City of San Jose v. Superior Court, which permitted a class claim against a municipal government in the context of an action for nuisance under section 910, also permitted taxpayers to file a class claim seeking the refund of local taxes under the same statute. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded the judgment of the Court of Appeals. View "Ardon v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law