Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox

"Citizens United v. FEC expressly held that the First Amendment
applies equally to the professional media and to other speakers;
and all the federal circuit courts that have considered the issue have

 The most recent such decision, Obsidian Finance Group LLC
v. Cox, reached this result in an Internet speech case, though the court’s logic applies more broadly."

"Thus, for instance, in Obsidian Finance Group the Ninth Circuit reversed a district
court decision that denied defendant full First Amendment libel protection. That district
court decision rested in part on the view that defendant lacked “any education in journal-ism,” “any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any recognized news entity,” or “proof of adherence to journalistic standards such as editing, fact-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of interest.”

Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, __ F. Supp. 2d __, __ (D. Ore. 2011). Not so, said the Ninth Circuit:  “The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story.”   Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284, 1291 (9th Cir. 2014)."

" Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284, 1292 (9th Cir. 2014) (citing Gardner as an example of a holding that “even consumer complaints of non-criminal conduct by a business can constitute matters of public concern”)"

"See, e.g., Obsidian Finance Group LLC v. Cox, [cite] (trial); Chan v. Ellis, [cite]
(trial). A few such cases might pique the interest of a lawyer who will take the case on appeal
pro bono. But handling a case at trial is generally much more burdensome for a lawyer
(especially one who is outside the jurisdiction) than handling it on appeal, especially
when the case involves a good deal of fact investigation.

A trial-level case is less likely to have the glamour of a potentially precedent-setting appellate case. And sometimes the defendant will be up against a plaintiff who can afford a private lawyer—for instance, if the lawsuit is over a defendant-consumer’s criticism of a business."

Source and Full Eugene Volokh Article

Blogger Crystal Cox was Pro Se in the Lower Court. The Higher Court Appeal could only use facts as per the lower court. COX won the Appeal with Eugene Volokh as her attorney, however, Volokh argued the case that COX, Pro Se, had already made in the lower court. When you appeal you cannot bring in new facts, you can only litigate what was of the record in the lower court.