ABA Journal


First Amendment

Lawyer ordered to delete Facebook posts involving McDonald’s settlement

Feb 13, 2013, 04:23 pm CST


Whether the judge's order is overbroad, or not, would depend on whether this was commercial speech or political speech. To make that determination one would have to see the Facebook posts. Where were they, what exactly did they say, were they factually misleading, did they target members of the McDonalds class, were they critical of the judicial process, etc. Without seeing the context it is impossible to tell. There are extremely important concerns related to protecting freedom of speech, and nowhere should concern for free speech be more punctilous than in the legal profession. On the other hand, factual misrepresentation has been honed to an art in today's news and marketing media. We must devise, as a society and as a profession, a reasonable way to balance interests and draw distinctions.

By Alex Skinner on 2013 02 13, 8:41 pm CST

Materially false information is addressed through defamation law, not constraints on free speech. His allegations seem to be whether their food is compliant to Muslim dietary law, which has nothing to do with public health and safety, so there is no legitimate need for state intervention.

McDonald's can sue him -- though they'd have to prove their case to a jury -- but a competent judge would not allow them to shush him. Hopefully he will appeal.

By Michael on 2013 02 14, 3:48 pm CST

Has Michigan Got A Despotic Wayne County Circuit Court Judge by the Name of Kathleen MacDonald Violating the Rights of Free Speech?
"[Attorney Majaed] Moughni also was ordered to forward the [Facebook] names and contact information of anyone who commented on the case or "Liked" a post on it."|head

By SovereignMary on 2013 02 14, 6:28 pm CST

I hope you will continue to cover this story. We have entered the case on Moughni's behalf to argue that the injunction is a prior restraint, and that the interference with the class members' assessment of their options in the last ten days of the period to opt out or object viiolates due process and requires that the opt-out period be extended.

By Paul Alan Levy on 2013 02 25, 1:56 pm CST

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