May 9, 2013

Victory for free speech

By Deborah J. La Fetra Senior Attorney

As we reported back in September, the City of San Francisco lost its bid to force cell phone sellers to post alarmist, misleading warnings about the supposed health risks of cell phone use.  The Ninth Circuit struck down the ordinance because the compelled distribution of the government’s propaganda violated the First Amendment.  Yesterday, San Francisco bowed to the inevitable, and officially agreed to revoke the cellphone ordinance.  The city realized that continuing to pursue the litigation was pointless, given the strength of the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, and that a loss at trial would cost the city half a million dollars in attorneys’ fees.  This ordinance was the first of its kind in the nation; we hope the result in this case deters any copycats.  More information on the case, CTIA – The Wireless Association v. San Francisco, available here, and PLF’s brief in the Ninth Circuit is here.

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