Friday, April 21, 2017

"NY Judge Says Prior Restraint Is America's Best Defense Against Internet 'Chaos'"

There are two types of people. 1) A subset of the population for whom the concept of prior restraint causes apoplexy. 2) the morons.

From TechDirt:
from the as-American-as-baseball,-apple-pie,-and-microfiche dept
A Long Island judge is swiftly making a (terrible) name for himself with a (terrible) ruling in a defamation lawsuit. The ruling making Acting Supreme Court Justice John Galasso look like an unconstitutional idiot has nearly nothing to do with the defamation claims, but rather his granting of the plaintiff's unconstitutional wish to have unflattering "memories" of himself pre-erased before the underlying lawsuit even gets going.

Here's a bit of background: Jessica Pelletier, an employee at a medical marijuana company, sued her co-worker Eric Lerner, as well as her supervisor, Tikun Olam, for sexual harassment and retaliation.
Pelletier, 23, of Rocky Hill, Conn., charged she was demoted and then fired after complaining to her bosses about alleged raunchy treatment from her colleagues.
Her suit charged she was sexually harassed, taunted about her fight with breast cancer — and ridiculed for her Catholic faith.
She was let go after 20 months with the company. According to her lawsuit, Tikun Olam management charged that she had “an attitude” by reacting badly to the inappropriate comments of her bosses.
The New York Daily News ran an article about the lawsuit, naming everyone involved, including Eric Lerner. This is something newspapers do, especially when the lawsuit covers public interest subjects like workplace harassment. This is something newspapers have every right to do, as filed lawsuits are public records and any coverage of filed suits is very definitely covered by the First Amendment.

Eric Lerner filed a countersuit against Pelletier roughly six months after she filed her harassment suit. Lerner's suit alleges Pelletier has defamed him with false claims, both in and out of court. (How some of those claims will manage to survive a motion to dismiss is unknown, considering statements made in courtroom filings are generally impervious to libel litigation. Statements made in court documents are almost aways given absolute immunity from civil actions.)

Before the defamation suit even got going, Lerner asked the court to grant him a restraining order against Pelletier to prevent her from distributing the Daily News article Eric Lerner is so concerned about. This is already an unconstitutional request, but it gets worse. He also requested his name and picture be removed from the New York Daily News' article about the harassment lawsuit.

Unbelievably, both of these have been granted by Judge Galasso....MORE
And in other 1st Amendment news former Federal Election Commission chairwoman Ann M. Ravel says it's time to regulate political speech on the internet: