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Ryan represents online communications and storage providers on their core legal issues: user data privacy, content moderation, platform integrity, and privacy litigation. He works with the largest online technology companies as well as startups to help them protect themselves, their users, and their data; promote free speech and expression; and stop child and victim exploitation.

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit’s stay of a temporary injunction in NetChoice, LLC v. Paxton, a closely watched case involving a novel Texas law purporting to bar “social media platforms” from engaging in “viewpoint” discrimination. The majority did not issue a

Against the background of lawsuits and debate about the role of communications service providers in moderating speech on their platforms, the U.S. Supreme Court has weighed in, affirming that private entities that host forums for speech are not state actors subject to constitutional requirements.

The Decision

In a 5-4 decision by Justice Kavanaugh, the Court held in Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, 587 U.S. __ (2019) that a private, nonprofit corporation operating a public-access TV channel is not a state actor subject to the First Amendment. Producers of public access programming had claimed the channel was a state actor that violated their First Amendment rights after it suspended them from its services due to their films’ content. The Court disagreed.
Continue Reading SCOTUS: Private Entities Operating Forums for Speech Are Not State Actors

Cy pres remedies … are a growing feature of class action settlements. … In a suitable case, this Court may need to clarify the limits of the use of such remedies.” Marek v. Lane, 134 S. Ct. 8, 9 (2013) (Roberts, C.J., respecting denial of certiorari).

In Marek, the U.S. Supreme Court denied cert in a case questioning the propriety of a cy pres award in a class action settlement. But Chief Justice Roberts suggested he might nevertheless be on the lookout for “an opportunity to address the more fundamental concerns surrounding the use of such [cy pres] remedies in class action litigation, including when, if ever, such relief should be considered; how to assess its fairness as a general matter; … what the respective roles of the judge and parties are in shaping a cy pres remedy; how closely the goals of any enlisted organization must correspond to the interests of the class; and so on.” Id.
Continue Reading Is SCOTUS Going to Tackle Cy Pres Awards in Class Action Settlements?