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Tag Archives: First Amendment

WDVA: Obscene gesture at officer no grounds for stop (access required)

A plaintiff can proceed to trial on his claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that a sheriff’s deputy initiated a traffic stop without probable cause. The deputy’s explanation that the plaintiff made a concerning gesture was not constitutionally sufficient. Background ...

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4th Cir.: Free expression not chilled by school’s initial inquiry (access required)

A university did not restrict or chill students’ speech by seeking their response to complaints that they had harassed others. The students, who’d sought and obtained university approval for a campus “Free Speech Event,” met with an official to discuss ...

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SCV: Church merger raised issues of contract, not religion (access required)

A circuit court had jurisdiction to decide a merger dispute between two churches. Resolution centered on the parties’ merger agreement, not their religious doctrines or other ecclesiastical questions. Background After falling behind on its mortgage payments, Pure Presbyterian Church of ...

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Important Opinions January – June 2018 (access required)

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The “Important Opinions” that appear each week on the front page of Virginia Lawyers Weekly are those chosen by our editors as the most likely to impact law practice or a given subject area of law. Below is a listing, ...

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WDVA: Jails must deliver nonprofit’s materials to inmates (access required)

A regional jail authority is preliminarily enjoined from confiscating publications mailed to inmates by the Human Rights Defense Center. The policy banning delivery of such publications is not rationally related to any legitimate purpose identified by the defendants. Background Plaintiff ...

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WDVA: “Unite the Right” conspiracy claims survive dismissal (access required)

In 1871, Congress passed a law “directed at the organized terrorism in the Reconstruction South,” now codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1985. Over 140 years later, the Ku Klux Klan, various neo-Nazi organizations, and associated white supremacists rallied in Charlottesville. ...

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WDVA: Fired county employee’s First Amendment claim is triable (access required)

A county’s former Director of Tourism presented genuine factual disputes as to whether he was fired in retaliation for his past vote to censure members of the county board of supervisors who voted to raise taxes. Background At a Bedford ...

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4th Cir.: High defamation standard applies to school board employee (access required)

Based on her responsibilities as set forth in the Virginia Code, a school board’s Director of Budget & Finance was a “public official” who had to show actual malice to prove that a TV news station defamed her. She failed ...

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EDVA: Court won’t seal trial records containing proprietary info (access required)

A company waived the confidentiality of its business information presented at trial. First Amendment principles and the company’s failure to follow Local Rule 5(C) also weighed against sealing the records. Background In this products liability action, a jury trial was ...

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4th Cir.: PETA can challenge N.C. employee access law (access required)

Animal rights groups sufficiently alleged an injury-in-fact to support their standing to challenge a recent North Carolina statute allowing employers to hold their employees civilly liable for damage caused by unauthorized access to nonpublic areas. Background The North Carolina Property ...

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