Harvard Law Unbound blog successfully blacklisted by Harvard

As a blogger myself, I find myself growing increasingly uncomfortable about reports of speech suppression of other bloggers through threats, intimidation, maliciously false process and the like.  In this installment, some dissenting Harvard Law students were the victims of a likely bogus DMCA takedown demand issued by Harvard to WordPress.com.  Bogus is as bogus does.  If you are a Harvard alum, tell them you'll be a little short in the donation area this year.  But this story has a better ending than some; the students didn't stand for it and immediately started a new blog.  Keep fighting the good fight.

Written contact with putative class members for purpose of finding new plaintiff is not solicitation under California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400

United States District Court Judge Susan Illston (Northern District of California) concluded that letters to putative class members seeking a new plaintiff were neither in violation of the Court's prior order governing class member contact nor a violation of California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400, which governs solicitation.  Rand v. American National Insurance Company, 2010 WL 2758720 (N.D. Cal July 13, 2010).

In an earlier Order in that matter, the Court, in an effort to ensure protection of putative class members' privacy rights, instructed plaintiff's counsel to:

inform each policyholder at the outset of the initial contact that he or she has a right not to speak with counsel and that if he or she chooses not to speak with counsel, counsel will immediately terminate contact and not contact them again. Additionally, counsel will inform the policyholder that his or her refusal to speak with counsel will not prejudice his or her rights as a class member if the Court certifies a class. Finally, counsel is to keep a record for the Court of policyholders who make it known that they do not wish to be contacted.

Slip op., at 1.  After the death of the plaintiff, plaintiff's counsel sent a letter containing a first paragraph with substantially compliant language in the first paragraph.  The letter then went on to encourage contact to discuss the circumstances of annuity purchases.  The Court concluded that the inclusion of the disclaimer language in the first paragraph satisfied the Court's prior Order and was not an improper solicitation:

The Court also finds that the letter complies with California Rule of Professional Conduct 1-400. That rule defines “communication” as “any message or offer made by or on behalf of a member concerning the availability for professional employment....” Cal. R. Prof. Conduct 1-400(A). The rule defines “solicitation” as “any communication ... concerning the availability for professional employment of a member or a law firm in which a significant motive is pecuniary gain; and ... [w]hich is: (a) delivered in person or by telephone.” Id. at 1-400(B)(1)-(2). The rule generally prohibits “solicitations.” Id. at 1-400(C). As plaintiffs note, the letter was sent by mail, and thus it is not a “solicitation.” Defendant argues that because the letter invited policyholders to contact plaintiff's counsel by telephone, the letter is a “solicitation.” The Court disagrees, as the plain language of Rule 1-400(B) states that a solicitation is a communication “delivered” in person or by telephone. Here, the communication was delivered by mail. See Parris v. Superior Court, 109 Cal.App. 4th 285, 298 n. 6 (2003) (neither mail notice nor web site was “solicitation” under Rule 1-400(B)).

Slip op., at 2.

Nevada has a substantial interest in brothel advertisements

Yes.  Perhaps an over-generalization, but, yes.  See, Coyote Publishing, Inc. v. Miller (9th Cir. Mar. 11, 2010), wherein the Ninth Circuit held that Nevada's restrictions on brothel advertisements are constitutional because they are justified by state's "substantial interest."   These headlines sometimes write themselves.

California Proposition 8 elicits constitution-based, discovery rights opinion from Ninth Circuit

For those following the complicated twists and turns of litigation over California Ballot Proposition 8, which amended the California Constitution to provide that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California, the litigation about that measure continues.  Today, the Ninth Circuit, in Perry, et al. v. Arnold Schwarzenegger (9th Cir. January 4, 2009), issued a writ of mandamus directing the trial court to enter a protective order barring access to internal campaign communications of proponents of the Proposition.  I'm no constitutional law expert, but high-stakes litigation like this tends to create its own complexity, so I simply note the opinion for the constitutional law scholars, fans and practitioners.  I can say that it's not every day that you see discovery limited because it would intrude on the the First Amendment right of freedom to associate.  The one-page appendix to the opinion is also available.