10 Jan In short order, two appellate courts reverse lower courts’ prior restraint on speech.
Praised be the Virginia Supreme Court and Florida District Court of Appeal each for recently reversing prior restraints on speech imposed at the trial level.
In Virginia on December 28, the Supreme Court reversed a prior restraint against a man who complained on Yelp about a home improvement contraactor. The state Supreme Court did so without even waiting to hear from the contractor. How I wish the Supreme Court had publicized its action, rather than keeping it as an unpublished order. Dietz v. Perez (see extensive links to the case, including the Virginia Supreme Court’s unpublished opinion). Here is the transcript from the trial court proceeding in the case.
In Florida, the District Court of Appeal reversed a prior restraint against a woman’s making commercial use of her ex-boyfriend’s name. Vrasic v. Leibel (Fl. Dist. Ct. of Appeal, 4th Dist., Jan,. 9, 2013). Congratulations and thanks to fellow First Amendment Lawyers Asssociation members Gary Edinger and Dan Aaronson for obtaining this victory, and thanks to Gary for providing information on the case.
While the above two appellate actions reverse prior restraint of speech, they do not preclude legal action for money damages against the alleged wrongdoers. I look forward to the day that the First Amendment is strengthened by eliminating libel actions.