Findlaw Case Summaries: Constitutional Law 9

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February 21 – February 27, 2009
U.S. Supreme Court, February 24, 2009 Ysursa v. Pocatello Educ. Ass’n., No. 07-869 In a First Amendment challenge to a law prohibiting public employees from making payroll deductions for political activities, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed, where the First Amendment does not confer a right to use government payroll mechanisms for political expression.

U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, February 25, 2009 Del Gallo v. Parent, No. 08-1511
In a case involving First Amendment rights and the right to campaign on a post office sidewalk, grant of defendant’s motion for summary judgment is affirmed where: 1) the post office sidewalk is not a traditional public forum; 2) the regulation barring candidate’s election campaigning on a post office sidewalk is viewpoint neutral and reasonable to prevent abuses and to preclude any appearance of partisan endorsement or preference; and 3) there is insufficient evidence of a pattern of selective enforcement before plaintiff’s arrest, and the regulation has been consistently applied since then.

U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, February 27, 2009 Poirier v. Massachusetts Dept. of Corr. , No. 08-1290
In a civil rights action, district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim is affirmed where enforcement of a Department of Corrections rule prohibiting unauthorized personal contact with former inmates did not violate plaintiff’s constitutional right to intimate association because the rule is a rational means of promoting the legitimate government interest in prison security. District court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s suit against the DOC on sovereign immunity grounds and claim for damages is affirmed.

U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, February 25, 2009 Lytle v. Bexar Cty., No. 08-50217 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging a wrongful police shooting, denial of Defendant’s qualified immunity is affirmed, where the parties disputed whether Plaintiff operated his vehicle in a manner that endangered Defendant just before the shooting.

U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, February 25, 2009 Jenkins v. County of Hennepin, No. 08-1058 In an action involving prisoner civil rights, district court’s grant of defendant’s motion for summary judgment is affirmed where: 1) medical supervisor’s decision to delay x-ray was at worst negligence, and did not reflect the deliberate indifference necessary to prove a constitutional violation; 2) plaintiff failed to establish that defendant had a policy or custom of deliberate indifference to medical needs that was constitutionally inadequate; and 3) employee’s testimony concerning shortfalls in the provision of medical care was insufficient to establish the kind of pervasive pattern of constitutional violations required to create liability.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, February 25, 2009 Maldonado v. Kempton, No. 06-15657 In a First Amendment challenge to a restriction on the use of billboards for offsite advertising, summary judgment for Defendants is affirmed, where California’s Outdoor Advertising Act’s onsite/offsite advertising distinction is not vague or overbroad.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, February 25, 2009 Canyon Ferry Rd. Baptist Church v. Unsworth, No. 06-35883 In a First Amendment challenge to state campaign contribution reporting regulations, summary judgment for Defendant is reversed where the state campaign regulation agency’s interpretation of the term “in-kind expenditures” was unconstitutionally vague…

California Appellate Districts, February 25, 2009 Anschutz Entm’t Group v. Snepp, No. B206789 In a slander action stemming from a news report, trial court’s denial of defendant’s first special motion to strike is affirmed and denial of second motion to strike is reversed where: 1) plaintiff did not demonstrate it suffered any compensable injury as it failed to serve a legally effective retraction demand, precluding its right to recover general damages; and 2) no special damages were recoverable as there was insufficient pleading of a special damages claim and no evidence presented of such losses.

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