Justia Communications Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of California
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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeal reversing the judgment of the trial court granting a petition for writ of mandate directing the City of Hayward to refund to a records requester the charges for approximately forty hours its staff spent editing out exempt material from digital police body camera footage, holding that the trial court was correct to disallow the City's charge for time its staff spent responding to the requests. The City claimed that its costs for time its employees spent responding to Plaintiff's requests were chargeable as costs of data extraction under Cal. Gov't Code 6253.9, subdivision (b)(2). The Supreme Court held that the City must bear its own redaction costs because the term "data extraction" does not cover the process of redacting exempt material from otherwise disclosable electronic records. View "National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward" on Justia 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