Monthly Archives June 2016

Slander Attorney San Diego

Lawsuits for slander are generally less common than for libel, even though both constitute

defamation. Defamation is the umbrella term for untrue statements of fact that damage

another. Because slander is spoken, it is hard to find proof unless it happened to be recorded.

Documentation of the slanderous statement isn’t the only proof one needs to show. The

plaintiff must prove that there was damage and injury because of the slanderous statement.

There are exceptions. If it is considered slander per se , the claimant does not need proof of

financial damage.

 

The various statements are labeled as slander per se:

 

  • A false accusation stating that one has committed a criminal offence and could have gone to jail as a consequence of his/her actions
  • Suggesting that one has a contagious disease like leprosy or HIV
  • Suggesting that one has committed serious sexual misconduct and adultery
  • Suggesting that one is not suited for his trade or profession, and is incompatible with his business, trade, profession, or office.

 

If you are being sued for slander per se, there is still hope to fight back. With The Law Office of

Ryan T. Darby, you’ll be sure to have one of the most aggressive attorneys in San Diego. Call

us at (619) 858-4766. See how we can start building up a strong defense for your case.

Categories: Defamation.

Anti-SLAPP Attorney San Diego

SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) and anti-SLAPP motions can be very confusing. Here are 4 general guidelines that may help clear it up a little:

 

1. Anti-SLAPP is a Matter of State Law, Not Federal.

The following states have anti-SLAPP statutes in place allowing those sued for

exercising their constitutional rights to free speech or petition to fight back with anti-

SLAPP motions:

Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana,

Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada,

New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee,

Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Colorado, West Virginia.

There is no federal anti-SLAPP law.

 

2. SLAPPs Suppress Criticism.

Unscrupulous individuals and businesses may file lawsuits with the sole purpose of

silencing unfavorable speech. It’s completely legal to make true statements or

opinions, but people are understandably scared of being sued and instead retract

their criticisms. This is detrimental to a free society and freezes the free flow of

information.

 

3.  Fear Not: Anti-SLAPP Motions Can Turn Things Around.

California’s anti-SLAPP laws encourage us to exercise our freedom of speech! In the

30 states listed above that have anti-SLAPP motions in place, defendants can fight

back against SLAPPs. Successful anti-SLAPP motions result in the dismissal of the

SLAPP and recovery of court costs and attorney fees.

 

4. Every Case is Different.

Anti-SLAPP law involves a cross-section of substantive law, constitutional law, and civil

procedure, so hiring an experienced attorney is critical. Contact The Law Office of Ryan

T. Darby at (619) 858-4766 for a consultation.

 

If you have questions regarding either one, please call The Law Office of Ryan at (619)

858-4766.

Categories: anti-SLAPP.

UCI’s Punishment of College Republicans Appears to Be Unconstitutional

UC Irvine has prohibited its College Republicans chapter from accessing event space after the CRs notified the administration they may host controversial speaker Milo Yiannopoulos again this fall, according to Breitbart.

It appears that UCI administrators invited College Republicans leaders to a meeting to discuss the planning of the Yiannopoulos event, which took place earlier this month. During the meeting, the College Republicans mentioned that they wanted to bring him back in the fall. Four hours later, the administration sent them an e-mail informing them that they could no longer reserve Student Center & Event Services venues until next spring for failing to provide a certificate of insurance for the private event security.

Wait, what? Suspended over a certificate of insurance? That sounds bizarre. I assume they’re referencing a fairly new California law requiring private security companies to carry a $1 million general liability insurance policy. UCI claims it requested the documentation three times before the event, and the College Republicans claim UCI only requested it the night before the event.

But, so what? Even if UCI is correct, is it really appropriate to effectively prohibit a student organization from hosting events for one year over a paperwork snafu? Bear in mind that these are college studentsif paperwork errors merited one-year suspensions, there probably wouldn’t be any student organizations left to suspend. Student organizations offer students the opportunity to learn important managerial and leadership skills, often through failure. This punishment serves no pedagogical purposeit is draconian; it is punitive; and it reeks of an ulterior motive.

There is ample evidence that this is a calculated move on the part of UCI to prevent the College Republicans from hosting Yiannopoulos again this fall. A UCI vice-provost previously sent a campus-wide e-mail condemning posters promoting the event, recommending that its organizers attend “Safe Zone training” at UCI. The administration also tried to charge the College Republicans a $1,000 fee for hosting the event with an outside student organization, but was forced to withdraw this demand. Moreover, UCI didn’t impose this proof-of-insurance requirement when David Horowitz required security, or even bring it up when UCI met with the CRs and their lawyers prior to the eventso, why now all of a sudden?

UCI is a government university, so it must adhere to the requirements of the First Amendment. If UCI is suspending the College Republicans on the basis of the viewpoints they and their speakers espouse, then it is engaging in unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination. It is simply illegal for a government body to silence a speaker because it disagrees with its viewpoint.

This is a fact-specific inquiry and too early to reach any definitive conclusions, but UCI’s actions appear unconstitutional at first glance. A few relevant questions come to mind:

(1) Do UCI’s published rules governing its student organizations require them to present proof of insurance? If so, is this an affirmative obligation or must UCI request it? If the latter, then is there any evidence that UCI requested?

(2) How many other student organizations have provided private security at its events, and how many of them presented proof of insurance? How many were punished for not presenting it? What was their punishment?

(3) Why didn’t UCI request this proof directly from the security company? It was only a fax or e-mail away.

(4) The CRs requested $1,250 for event security, but received a paltry $181. How much does UCI grant to other student organizations requesting security?

The answers to these questions could be very revealing.

At first glance, however, this appears to be symptomatic of a regrettable anti-speech trend afflicting college campuses across the country. A fictional right to not be offended all-too-often trumps our constitutional right to free speech. Angry mobs delude themselves into believing that using force and intimidation to silence opposing viewpoints is somehow free speech. And, as we see here, university administrators favor the rights of the offended and of the angered over those who are peacefully expressing a legally protected opinion.

Kudos, however, to UCI’s Anteaters for Bernie Sanders for reaching across party lines to release a statement supporting the CRs’ right to free speech and equal treatment. They seem to recognize that partisan squabbles are secondary principles, whereas free speech is a primary principle that should unite all of us. Hopefully this attitude gains traction among UCI’s student organizations; time will tell.

Ryan T. Darby practices defamation defense and free speech law in San Diego, as well as a proud California College Republicans alumnus and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

The author originally published this post on SD Rostra.

Categories: Constitutional Law, Free Speech, and Public Interest Law.

Ryan T. Darby Sues UCSD for Violating Student Media Speech

Earlier this week, I teamed up with the ACLU to file a federal lawsuit against the University of California, San Diego for depriving student media of their First Amendment rights. Specifically, UCSD’s student government has attempted to censor a controversial humor publication known as The Koala by halting funding to all print publications.

As a UCSD alumnus, I did not reach this decision lightly. I co-founded the UCSD Military Veteran Scholarship and prefer to maintain good relations with my alma mater. I had a great experience there, and I’m proud to have graduated from a world-class research university.

Unfortunately, I grow tired of reading headlines about UCSD censoring student speech. A UCSD provost recently issued a statement condemning students who chalked pro-Trump slogans on campus and warned that they could face the “fullest sanctions,” even though chalking is expressly allowed under the student code. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) recently named UCSD one of our country’s ten worst schools for free speech rights. UCSD previously tried to shut down The Koala in 2002 and in 2010, the former of which I witnessed firsthand as a student.

UCSD’s present battle against the First Amendment started when The Koala published an article this past fall mocking safe spaces and trigger warnings. Condemnation immediately followed, from the Chancellor’s Office on down. The student government decided to discontinue funding for all student media the same day as the Chancellor’s statement.

This trend toward censorship represents a growing problem within academia. Universities were the champions of the free speech movement of the 1960s and prided themselves as hotbeds of free expression. Today, it appears that free speech is taking a backseat on many campuses to other political and sociological concerns. The peril of this shift in values cannot be overstated. Most partisan disagreements represent secondary values; our constitutional right to express our opinions on those topics are primary values that form the foundation of our free republic.

The ambivalence we see here toward free speech is a disturbing trend that can lead nowhere good. No matter how disagreeable a reader may find The Koala‘s speech, censorship is not the answer. Instead, we should encourage college students to craft persuasive arguments about issues they find important, not to petition the government to shut down opposing viewpoints. The answer to speech we dislike is to counter it with thoughtful rebuttals, and allow the best ideas to prevail in the marketplace of public opinion.

UCSD’s decision to target The Koala is not only politically perverse, but unconstitutional. UCSD is a public university bound by the First Amendment, which prohibits public bodies from discriminating against the press and against individual viewpoints. UCSD understands that it cannot single out The Koala by stripping this one publication of its funding, so it has developed a clever ploy to strip The Koala of its funding by removing all student media funding. In other words, UCSD realizes a surgical strike is illegal, so it thinks it can skirt the law by choosing the nuclear option.

This is problematic for two reasons. First, the First Amendment’s Free Press Clause prohibits the government from singling out the media for inferior treatment. The student government freely grants money to a wide array of student expression, so it cannot lawfully deprive student media of the same financial resources it freely offers for other forms of expression. Second, the Free Speech Clause prohibits the government from discriminating against any particular viewpoint—period. The sum total of the evidence shows that the media freeze is a ploy for defunding The Koala. It’s the discriminatory intent that matters.

For these reasons, I made the difficult choice to file a lawsuit against my alma mater. I do so, however, hoping that a just outcome will prompt much-needed reforms respecting the rights of free speech on campus.

Ryan T. Darby practices defamation defense and free speech law in San Diego.

Categories: Constitutional Law, Free Speech, and Public Interest Law.