Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Constitutionality - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions - Updated August 19, 2004
977 F.Supp.1228 (N.D. Ga., 1997)
(Court holds that Georiga statute which, inter alia, prohibits an individual from using a pseudonym when communicating over the Internet, and prohibits the use of trademarks and logos in hyperlinks without permission, is unconstitutional because it is vague, overbroad, and not narrowly tailored to achieve the State's ends of preventing fraud and improper use of trademarks)
Donald Beskind, et al. v. Michael F. Easley, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of North Carolina, et al.
3:00CV258-MU (W.D.N.C., April 5, 2002) aff'd. in part, vacated in part, remanded 325 F.3d 506 (4th Cir., 2003)
Court holds that those provisions of North Carolina's Alcoholic Beverage Control law which prohibit out-of-state retailers from selling liquor directly to North Carolina consumers, while allowing in-state wineries to make such sales, are unconstitutional violations of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The dormant Commerce Clause prohibits states from enacting regulations, such as those at bar, which directly discriminate against interstate commerce. The court held that the legislation at issue was not saved by operation of the Twenty First Amendment, which grants the States the power to regulate in-State liquor sales. The Twenty First Amendment does not trump the Commerce Clause; rather, when faced with a conflict between their competing concerns, courts engage in a balancing test, asking "whether the interests implicated by [the] state regulation are so closely related to the powers preserved by the Twenty First Amendment that the regulation may prevail …". Here, North Carolina did not identify the state interests served by the challenged regulation. As a result, the District Court assumed the purpose of the legislation was to protect local wineries from out-of-state competitors. The Court held that such an improper purpose mandates a finding that the statute is an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause. The Court accordingly enjoined North Carolina from enforcing the statutes at issue, including those laws "that prohibit … out-of state wine dealers from directly shipping wines to … North Carolina residents."
No. A092653 (Cal. Crt. App., First Appellate Dist., January 2, 2002)
Reversing the court below, the Court of Appeals for the State of California, First Appellate District, holds that Section 17538.4 of the California Business and Professions Code, which regulates the sending of unsolicited commercial e-mail ("UCE") to California residents, does not run afoul of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The court accordingly reinstated so much of plaintiff's complaint which asserts unfair business and unlawful advertising practice claims arising out of defendants' transmission of UCE in violation of Section 17538.4. The Court also granted plaintiff leave to replead his claim that defendants' transmission of UCE constitutes an impermissible trespass to chattels -- namely plaintiff's computer -- finding his existing complaint deficient as a result of its failure to allege the injury necessary to sustain such a claim.
280 F.3d 741, No. 98 C 3187 (7th Cir., February 6, 2002)
Seventh Circuit affirms dismissal of claims brought by former employee against his employer arising out of employer's seizure of a company lap top used by plaintiff in the course of his employ, and subsequent delivery of that lap top to federal authorities in response to a search warrant. Defendant employer could not be held to have violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights because plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the lap top in light of the company's computer use policy, which permitted the company to inspect the lap top at any time. Moreover, as the defendant was neither the state or a public entity, it could not be liable for violating plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights.
281 F.3d 1130 (10th Cir., February 22, 2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 845 (2002)
10th Circuit holds that a University professor has no reasonable expectation of privacy in an office computer supplied for his use by the University which employed him. This result was mandated by the University's computer policy, which provides both that the University may inspect such computers at any time to ensure their appropriate use, and that the University is the owner of everything stored in such computers. As a result, the court held that the seizure of these images did not violate defendant's Fourth Amendment rights, given his lack of a reasonable expectation of privacy in this computer. The 10th Circuit accordingly affirmed the denial of defendant's motion to suppress the introduction of child pornography found in files defendant attempted to delete from his computer hard drive and upheld defendant's agreement to plead guilty to violating 18 U.S.C. §2252(a)(5)(b) based on his possession of child pornography.
24 P.3d 404 (Supreme Court State of Washington, June 7, 2001), cert. denied, 122 S.Ct. 467 (2001)
Reversing the decision of the trial court, Washington's Supreme Court holds that Washington's Antispam law, chapter 19.190 RCW, does not run afoul of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Washington's Antispam law regulates the sending of unsolicited commercial e-mail ("UCE") either to an e-mail address held by a Washington resident, or from a computer located in Washington. The statute mandates that such e-mail may not "misrepresent or disguise … the message's point of origin or transmission path, or use a misleading subject line." The statute also requires the sender of UCE to include a valid e-mail address to which recipients can respond. In holding that the statute did not violate the Commerce Clause, the Court determined that the statute did not discriminate against Interstate Commerce, because it imposed the same obligations on everyone who sent e-mail to Washington residents, whether they reside in Washington or elsewhere. The Court further held that the statute served the important State interests of protecting local ISPs, owners of domain names and Internet users from the unwanted costs associated with UCE, while imposing, at most, minimal burdens on interstate commerce by obligating those who send UCE to provide truthful subject lines and transmission paths.
No. 040907578 (Utah Dist. Ct., June 22, 2004)
Court issues preliminary injunction, enjoining enforcement of Utah's Spyware Control Act, which, inter alia, prohibits the delivery of 'pop-up' ads that obscure any portion of an Internet website, and bars advertisers from downloading programs that deliver ads to a consumer's computer unless the consumer's consent to such download is obtained in the manner specified by the Act. The Court issued such relief because it found that plaintiff was likely to prevail on its claim that those portions of the Act run afoul of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
For additional cases, see First Amendment.