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The DC Circuit denied the petition for review of the FCC's decision regarding the nationwide emergency alert system. Under the FCC's decision, when broadcasters receive emergency alerts from government entities, the broadcasters may, if they choose, broadcast the alerts only in English. The court held that Section 1 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 151, does not obligate the FCC to require broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English. The court further held that it was not unreasonable for the FCC to gather more information from relevant parties before deciding whether to compel broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English. View "Multicultural Media v. FCC" on Justia Law

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Believing nonpublic content of the victim's Facebook account might provide exculpatory evidence helpful in preparing for trial, real-party-in-interest Lance Touchstone served petitioner Facebook with a subpoena for the subscriber records and contents of the victim's Facebook account, including timeline posts, messages, phone calls, photos, videos, location information and user-input information from account inception to the present date. Touchtone was awaiting trial for attempted murder. On the public portion of his Facebook page, the victim posted updates of court hearings in this case, asking his friends to attend the preliminary hearing. In public posts the victim also discussed his personal use of guns and drugs, and described his desire to rob and kill people. Facebook filed a motion to quash the subpoena on the ground the Stored Communications Act (SCA) prohibited disclosure of the victim's account contents. In an accompanying declaration, counsel for Facebook stated that Touchstone could obtain the requested contents directly from the victim or by working with the prosecutor to obtain a search warrant based on probable cause. The trial court denied the motion to quash and ordered Facebook to produce the contents of the victim's account for in camera inspection by a certain date. Facebook seeks a writ directing the trial court to vacate its order denying the motion to quash the subpoena and to enter a new order granting the motion to quash. Facebook contends the trial court abused its discretion by denying the motion to quash and ordering production of documents for in camera inspection because the SCA prohibits Facebook from disclosing the content of its users' accounts in response to a subpoena. Facebook further contends that compelling it to disclose the contents of the victim's account is not necessary to preserve Touchstone's constitutional right to a fair trial because Touchstone can obtain the contents directly from the victim or through the prosecutor via a search warrant. The Court of Appeal granted Facebook’s application and granted a writ of mandate, vacating the trial court’s order and effectively quashing the subpoena duces tecum. View "Facebook v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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Interstate 90 runs through Campbell, Wisconsin, with a speed limit of 65 miles per hour. Two streets and one pedestrian overpass cross the highway within the town. A traffic survey in 2008 found that 23,000-29,000 trucks and cars pass through the town on I-90 every day. The local Tea Party placed banners on the pedestrian overpass, bearing messages such as “HONK TO IMPEACH OBAMA,” leading the town to enact an ordinance forbidding all signs, flags, and banners (other than traffic-control information) on any of the overpasses, or within 100 feet of the end of those structures. The district court rejected a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 on summary judgment. The Seventh Circuit vacated as to the challenge to the 100-foot buffer zone but otherwise affirmed. The ordinance is content-neutral; it does not matter what message any privately placed sign bears. It is a time, place, and manner limit, permitting messages to be conveyed anywhere else in Campbell. A “state or local legislature that attempts to reduce the incidence of sudden braking on a superhighway cannot be thought to be acting irrationally or trying to suppress speech for no good reason.” The town did not try to justify the buffer zone. View "Luce v. Town of Campbell, Wisconsin" on Justia Law

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Cox Cable subscribers cannot access premium cable services unless they also rent a set-top box from Cox. A class of plaintiffs in Oklahoma City sued Cox under antitrust laws, alleging Cox had illegally tied cable services to set-top-box rentals in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act, which prohibits illegal restraints of trade. Though a jury found that Plaintiffs had proved the necessary elements to establish a tying arrangement, the district court disagreed. In granting Cox’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b) motion, the court determined that Plaintiffs had offered insufficient evidence for a jury to find that Cox’s tying arrangement "foreclosed a substantial volume of commerce in Oklahoma City to other sellers or potential sellers of set-top boxes in the market for set- top boxes." After careful consideration, the Tenth Circuit ultimately agreed with the district court and affirmed. View "Healy v. Cox Communications" on Justia Law

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George Elias, IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler appealed the district court's dismissal of their defamation claims against Rolling Stone and others, alleging claims arising from a now-retracted Rolling Stone magazine article titled, "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA" as well as a subsequent online podcast. The Second Circuit held that the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' defamation claim arising from the podcast; the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' claims relating to Hadford individually; with regard to Elias and Fowler, the complaint plausibly alleged that the statements in the article were "of and concerning" them individually; and the complaint plausibly alleged that all plaintiffs were defamed as members of the Phi Kappa Psi under a theory of small group defamation. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Elias v. Rolling Stone LLC" on Justia Law

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Nev. Rev. Stat. 200.620, which prohibits a person from recording a telephone call unless both parties participating in the call consent to the recording, does not apply to the recording of interstate calls when the act of recording takes place outside Nevada. Respondent filed this class action suit against Appellant, a Delaware LLC that has its customer call centers equipped to record telephone calls in Arizona and Minnesota, alleging that Appellant violated section 200.620 by unlawfully recording certain telephone conversations without Respondent’s consent. The federal district court decided to certify a question concerning the applicability of section 200.620. The Supreme Court answered that the statute does not apply to recordings of telephone conservations with a person in Nevada without that person’s consent when the recordings are made by a party who is located and uses recording equipment outside of Nevada. View "Ditech Financial LLC v. Buckles" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of this defamation action as to the out-of-state defendants, holding that Connecticut General Statute 52‐59b—which provides for long‐arm jurisdiction over certain out‐of‐state defendants except in defamation actions—does not violate plaintiff's First or Fourteenth Amendment rights. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's defamation claim based on the "as much as $500 million" statement under the New York Civil Rights Law 74, but held that the district court erred in dismissing plaintiff's claim based on the "repeatedly tried to extort" statement. Therefore, the court reversed in part the dismissal of plaintiff's claim against the Bloomberg Defendants and remanded for further proceedings. View "Friedman v. Bloomberg L.P." on Justia Law

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After the FCC denied SNR and Northstar's application to use bidding credits to purchase wireless spectrum licenses, SNR and Northstar bought some of the licenses at full price and relinquished the rest to the FCC. The FCC fined the petitioners hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to comply with the auction terms that required all bidders to purchase the licenses they won. The DC Circuit held that the FCC reasonably determined that DISH exercised de facto control over SNR and Northstar's businesses; but the FCC did not give SNR and Northstar adequate notice that, if their relationships with DISH cost them their bidding credits, the FCC would also deny them an opportunity to cure. Accordingly, the court remanded for the FCC to give petitioners an opportunity to seek to negotiate a cure for the de facto control the FCC found that DISH exercised over them. View "SNR Wireless LicenseCo, LLC v. FCC" on Justia Law

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A liability insurance policy that unequivocally and broadly excludes coverage for invasion of privacy claims also excludes coverage for Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) claims. After Federal denied insurance coverage and declined to defend the Lakers in an underlying suit for invasion of privacy, the Lakers filed suit against Federal for breach of contract and tortious breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the suit under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The panel held that a TCPA claim was inherently an invasion of privacy claim and thus Federal correctly concluded that the underlying TCPA claim fell under the insurance policy's broad exclusionary clause. In this case, Federal did not breach the policy, or the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, under any cognizable legal theory, when it declined to defend against or cover the underlying complaint. View "LA Lakers v. Federal Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Creditsmarts operates an internet-based business that helps independent car dealers connect customers with lenders. BMW offers direct automotive financing to customers through “up2drive.” In 2012, BMW and Creditsmarts entered into agreements, under which BMW would offer up2drive loans to borrowers at participating dealerships through Creditsmarts. Creditsmarts subsequently used the services of a fax broadcaster to fax about 21,000 advertisements to dealerships. The advertisements identified BMW and stated, “UpToDrive is looking for your BUSINESS!!” A list of recipients was generated from Creditsmarts’s customer database. Neither Creditsmarts nor Westfax retained lists of recipients. Plaintiff received a fax and alleges that it had no preexisting business relationship with Creditsmarts or BMW and that the fax was unsolicited. Plaintiff brought suit under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227, asserting claims under FRCP 23 on behalf of a class defined as: All auto dealerships that were included in the Creditsmarts database on or before December 27, 2012, with fax numbers … who were sent” BMW faxes on specific dates. The Creditsmarts database was not preserved as of December 2012 but was preserved as of February 2014. The Third Circuit vacated the denial of class certification. Precedent does not categorically preclude affidavits from potential class members, combined with the Creditsmarts database, from satisfying the ascertainability standard. Because the database was not produced during discovery, plaintiff was denied the opportunity to demonstrate whether a reliable, administratively feasible method of ascertaining the class exists View "City Select Auto Sales Inc v. BMW Bank of North America Inc" on Justia Law