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Paul Levy
Cyberlitigator on free speech issues at Public Citizen
Recent Activity
In a brief filed in the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, we have asked the Court to enforce the Supreme Court’s rule forbidding temporary injunctions to protect the reputation of a business against allegedly defamatory criticisms. The facts of the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Over the past couple of decades, federal courts have a uniform answer to the question whether state anti-SLAPP statutes applied when state law claims were pursued in federal court. Anti-SLAPP statutes give the defendants in cases... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2015 at CL&P Blog
The recent announcement of an FTC settlement with a company called AmeriFreight that was paying customers to write reviews, then trolling for new customers by pointing to its favorable online ratings, brings to mind the controversy a few years ago... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy I have blogged several times (for example here and here) about the efforts of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning to compel Yelp to comply with a Virginia subpoena to identify seven consumers who posted critical reviews on Yelp.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In a two-page per curiam ruling, the Fifth Circuit has affirmed the decision of Judge Sam Cummings of the Northern District of Texas to dismiss, on the face of the complaint, Lanham Act claims brought by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy An increasing number of ISP’s have come to see themselves as more than stakeholders in controversies about whether their users have so clearly exceeded their First Amendment rights that their identities must be revealed in response... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2015 at CL&P Blog
When a trial court judge responds to an amicus brief by reversing her published position on outcome of a motion, and begins her opinion with an expression of gratitude to “Public Citizen for its excellent and informative brief,” its author... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy The Appellate Division in New York has today affirmed the denial of a pre-litigation petition brought by Woodbridge Structured Funding seeking to compel Opinion Corp. to provide identifying information about the authors of two critical consumer... Continue reading
Posted Feb 19, 2015 at CL&P Blog
We recently filed an amicus brief about the standards for subpoenas identifying anonymous Internet users accused of defamatory or otherwise wrongful communications in a surprising venue - the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The underlying... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2015 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy A trial judge in Texas has turned down a motion to compel Yelp to comply with a subpoena seeking identifying information about an unhappy consumer who complained about alleged misconduct by a Texas real estate firm,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2015 at CL&P Blog
A beer enthusiast blog carries a great open letter from a small microbrew company called Old Ox Brewery, responding to a trademark opposition claiming that because an ox and a bull are both bovines, indeed an ox is a castrated... Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2015 at CL&P Blog
Good discussion on the Tech and Marketing Law Blog here of Rodman v. Safeway Inc., 2014 WL 6984703 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 10, 2014), where the trial court upheld plaintiffs' contention that Safeway promised to charge in-store prices for products ordered... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2015 at CL&P Blog
The Boston Globe brings us word of a series of email exchanges in which a Harvard Business School professor (with whom I am acquainted) seems to have gone a bit overboard in invoking the treble-damages provision of the Massachusetts Consumer... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Late last week I attended a conference on Social Media Liability at Suffolk University Law School. My own talk, about practical considerations in litigating online free speech issues, is not yet in publishable form, but a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In the short space of a few days, the House and Senate of the Pennsylvania legislature have passed a bill allowing judges to issue injunctions, or grant any other “appropriate relief” if there is “conduct” by... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Last February, I discussed on this blog our appeal on behalf of an Alabama law firm and about a hundred of their clients who were subjected to an exceptionally broad gag order that forbade them from... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Considering that many homeowners' insurance policies include rudimentary libel coverage, it makes sense for insurance companies to republish articles telling customers about what the law allows, and what sorts of comments are most likely to lead... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy In two rulings in late August, the Texas Supreme Court addressed significant issues of free speech arising in defamation cases brought by companies against their critics – the availability of injunctive remedies, and the proper procedure... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy A dozen years ago, when I had just made the transition from doing union democracy law to cyberlaw, I took on the representation of an IT professional named Hank Mishkoff who modeled his work by creating... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Late last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the dismissal of a class action against Yelp by four local merchants who claimed that Yelp employees were themselves writing false and defamatory reviews, and removing positive reviews,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Readers of this blog may recall that Brett Kimberlin has filed a defamation action against two dozen bloggers and other defendants; Public Citizen is in the case for the limited purpose of defending the anonymity of... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2014 at CL&P Blog
Ars Technica reported recently that Chief Judge Marsha Pechman of the Western District of Washington had ordered the identification ("unmasking") of hundreds of Amazon users who posted comments critical of the "nutritional supplements" sold by the company “Ubervita.” The article... Continue reading
Posted Jul 17, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Take a gander of this image: do you think, or even suspect, that Philip Morris, the maker of world-renowned Marlboro cigarettes, might approve this image, or might indeed be offering it for sale? If so, you... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy Ready for Hillary may have no more sense of humor than the NSA, but like the NSA, its leaders apparently know when the law is against it. Late last night, just before midnight in fact, we... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2014 at CL&P Blog
by Paul Alan Levy CafePress has responded to our letter to the political action committee Ready for Hillary by agreeing that Dan McCall's Ready for Oligarchy parodies are protected by the First Amendment as well as by the doctrine of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2014 at CL&P Blog