In an opinion Monday, Judge Marrero ruled that the First Amendment protected the right of a group of law professors to publish online their attorney grievance complaints against prosecutors in Queens who had been involved in alleged prosecutorial misconduct. The professors received a letter from New York City’s Corporation Counsel claiming that the disclosure of their complaints violated a statute protecting the confidentiality of grievance proceedings.

Judge Marrero, quoting an earlier Second Circuit case, found that the effort to deter the law professors was unlawful: “Penalizing an individual for publicly disclosing complaints about the conduct of a government official strikes at the heart of the First Amendment.” 
Continue Reading Judge Marrero: First Amendment Allows Attorney Grievance Complainants to Publish Their Own Complaints, Notwithstanding Confidentiality Statute

In an opinion Tuesday, Judge Crotty preliminarily enjoined New York State from enforcing unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”) regulations against a non-profit that counsels New Yorkers facing debt-collection actions (see our prior coverage here).

Judge Crotty found that UPL regulations were commonly upheld as regulating conduct, but, as applied to the that the program at issue, the UPL regulations governed speech:
Continue Reading Judge Crotty: Non-Profit’s Advice on Dealing With Debt Collection Actions Is Protected by First Amendment Against “Unauthorized Practice of Law” Regulations

In a complaint filed Tuesday, a non-profit organization and a pastor from the South Bronx sued N.Y. AG Letitia James, alleging that New York’s rules governing the unauthorized practice of law (“UPL”) prevent them from advising low income clients facing debt collection lawsuits, in violation of their First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights.  The non-profit organization plans to train non-lawyers to provide “reliable, free, straightforward, and narrowly circumscribed” advice to low income New Yorkers facing debt collection lawsuits “on a strictly non-commercial basis to ensure that defendants can understand their rights and respond to the debt collection lawsuits against them.”  However, New York’s UPL rules make it a crime and civilly sanctionable to engage in, solicit, or aid in the provision of legal advice by non-lawyers.
Continue Reading Complaint: New York’s Rules on Unauthorized Practice of Law Violate Non-Profit’s First and Fourteenth Amendment Rights

On Friday, Judge Rakoff denied cross-motions for summary judgment in Sarah Palin’s defamation lawsuit against the New York Times. (See our earlier coverage here.) Palin argued that the “actual malice” standard for defamatory statements against public figures was no longer good law or did not apply to this case, while the Times argued that no reasonable jury could find that the allegedly defamatory statements were published with actual malice. The case will proceed to trial next Februrary.

Continue Reading Judge Rakoff Clears Sarah Palin’s Defamation Lawsuit Against NY Times for February Trial

Last week, Judge Cote ruled that a New York’s Penal Law Section 215.50 – a misdemeanor criminal contempt statute that prohibits shouting and display of signage within two hundred feet of a courthouse where that speech concerns a trial ongoing in that courthouse – violated the First Amendment.  The case arose when the defendant distributed pamphlets with information about jury nullification outside the Bronx County Hall of Justice and was arrested after refusing to move outside of the 200-foot perimeter.

Judge Cote found that the act was not sufficiently tailored to meet the state’s purported interest in protecting trial integrity:
Continue Reading Judge Cote Strikes Down New York State Prohibition Against Trial Signage Outside Courthouses, Citing First Amendment

Yesterday, Judge Schofield ruled that a claim for declaratory relief to prevent the White House and President Donald Trump from revoking or threatening to revoke White House press credentials could proceed.  The case was brought by PEN America Center, a nonprofit of association of media professionals, claiming that these threats chilled First Amendment rights for journalists (specifically CNN’s Jim Acosta) and also prevented PEN and its members from receiving information that would have been provided to the organization by these journalists.

The order found that the “Press Corps” claim, seeking declaratory relief on First Amendment grounds to prevent the White House from arbitrarily revoking press credentials, was properly pled:
Continue Reading Judge Schofield: Claims Over White House Revocation of Press Credentials and Security Clearances May Proceed

In an opinion Tuesday, Judge Koeltl dismissed the case brought by the Democratic National Committee and accusing the Wikileaks, the Trump Campaign and others of conspiring with Russia to steal DNC emails in 2016 so as to help President Trump’s election chances (see prior coverage here).

Judge Koeltl dismissed a large portion of the case on First Amendment grounds, finding that the Wikileaks and the Trump Campaign could not be liable for merely disseminating material stolen by the Russians:
Continue Reading In Dismissing DNC Case, Judge Koeltl Emphasizes First Amendment Right to Publish Material Stolen By Others

In the ongoing case regarding whether President Trump can block individual Twitter users under the First Amendment (see our previous coverage here), the Second Circuit earlier this week affirmed Judge Buchwald’s earlier ruling that the president’s Twitter account is a public forum and that blocking individual users represented unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination.

Continue Reading Second Circuit Affirms Judge Buchwald in Trump Twitter Case

Last week, Airbnb filed a complaint challenging the city’s new ordinance requiring homesharing platforms to share data about hosts and guests to the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement.  According to Airbnb, the new ordinance allows the city to collect wide-ranging categories of non-public information:

“[T]he Ordinance requires Internet homesharing platforms to turn over personal information