Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Greater LA Agency on Deafness v. Cable News Network (9th Cir. - Feb. 5, 2014)

The Ninth Circuit understandably decides to pass the buck on this one.

At issue in the litigation is whether the California Disabled Persons Act (DPA) -- which entitles individuals with disabilities "full and equal access" to "places of public accommodation" -- requires the folks at to place captions on all videos on the web site so that deaf people can view and understand them.  There are a number of federal district court decisions that hold that the DPA only applies to physical places of public accommodation, and thus doesn't apply to web sites.  But there's very little California authority on point.

So the Ninth Circuit certifies the question to the California Supreme Court.  Hoping that this action will mean that the latter, rather than the former, will the be focus of the massive ire that will inevitably be generated by the allies of whichever party loses the appeal.  Errr, I mean:  Hoping that this action will advance important interests of comity and federalism.

Ball's now in your court, Cal Supremes.

P.S. - Remember when I said previously that you want to be worried whenever you sue media defendants, lest they file an anti-SLAPP motion to what one might normally think is a lawsuit that has nothing at all to do with the exercise of the defendant's exercise of its First Amendment rights?  In a companion case decided today, the Ninth Circuit reiterates this message.  Holding that's alleged conduct here indeed gives rise to an anti-SLAPP suit.  So be forewarned.