Litigation & Case Law Update

JurisdictionCalifornia,United States
AuthorBy John M. Appelbaum and Leslie Lopez
Publication year2020
CitationVol. 43 No. 1
Litigation & Case Law Update

By John M. Appelbaum and Leslie Lopez

John M. Appelbaum is a Deputy Attorney General at the California Attorney General's Office.

Leslie Lopez is the Deputy Director and Chief Counsel at the California Department of General Services.

SECTION 1983 / FIRST AMENDMENT

Cuviello v. City of Vallejo (9th Cir. 2019) 944 F.3d 816.

City ordinance requiring a permit before using a sound-amplifying device, which was a prior restraint on public speech, was not reasonable as applied to a loud, bustling intersection because it was not narrowly tailored to serve the city's interests in preventing noise that disturbed the peace and created traffic dangers.

The City of Vallejo (city) required permits to use sound-amplifying devices within the city. A resident sought to use a bullhorn to voice protests concerning alleged animal mistreatment by an amusement park. The protester selected a location on a sidewalk adjacent to the park where the ambient noise would otherwise hamper his ability to convey his message if made without a bullhorn. The protester's Section 1983 action against the city alleged that the permitting requirement violated his right to freedom of speech. The trial court denied the protester's motion for a preliminary injunction, and he appealed.

While the appellate court found that bullhorns are "indispensable instruments of public speech," it noted that such speech is subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. The regulation must meet four criteria: (1) it may not delegate overly broad discretion to an official; (2) it may not regulate the content; (3) it must be narrowly tailored to serve a significant governmental interest; and (4) it must leave open ample alternatives for communication. The appellate court held that the regulation burdened speech more than necessary because it treated all public locations equally, whether it be an empty parking lot or a noisy amusement park, with no applicable standards governing the permitting process.

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 918.

Administrative remedies for individual union members were inadequate for class claims brought by union against county alleging breach of labor agreement's MOU, and thus union was not required to exhaust individuals' administrative remedies before bringing suit.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (association) filed suit based on Los Angeles County's (county)...

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