First Amendment

Lawyer ordered to delete Facebook posts involving McDonald's settlement

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Updated: A Michigan judge has ordered a lawyer to take down Facebook posts concerning a settlement by McDonald’s concerning its halal food offerings.

The order also required Dearborn attorney Majed Moughni to post a copy of the actual settlement in a class action against McDonald’s and provide the court with contact information for those who had “liked” his posts proposing a different division of the $700,000 to be paid by the restaurant in the case, according to the Detroit Free Press and the Press & Guide.

A filing by Moughni seeking monetary relief for individuals who ate what he called haram food at McDonald’s, thinking that it was halal, was dismissed by Wayne County Circuit Judge Kathleen Macdonald. She called his posts about the case on his Dearborn Area Community Members page were “materially false, deceptive and misleading” and said had he engaged in “deliberate and abusive conduct which has created a likelihood of confusion of class members, adversely has effected (sic) the administration of justice and had undermined this court’s responsibility and authority to protect class members from such abuses,” the Press & Guide article reports.

The judge also prohibited Moughni from communicating with parties to the class action or talking to news media about the case unless he first gets written approval from Macdonald and Jaafer & Mahdi Law Group, the firm representing plaintiffs in the case.

Saying the judge’s order is overbroad and “chills political speech,” the Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union weighed in with a brief in support of Moughni, according to the Detroit Free Press. Also challenging the judge’s order is the Washington, D.C.-based Public Citizen Litigation Group.

“The judge’s actions represent a jaw-dropping attack on the First Amendment,” Paul Levy, an attorney for Public Citizen, told the Free Press.

Last updated Feb. 26 to include information that the ACLU and Public Citizen Litigation Group have filed briefs.

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