Prior Restraints

Although the law leaves little doubt that speech should not be stopped before it occurs, prior restraints on speech are being sought (and obtained) in increasing numbers.  From trial courts to the United States Supreme Court, we are leaders in fighting prior restraints.

  • Tory v. Cochran, 544 U.S. 734 (2005). As counsel for Petitioner Ulysses Tory in the United States Supreme Court, we succeeded in striking down an overly broad prior restraint on speech concerning noted attorney Johnnie Cochran.
  • Balboa Island Village Inn v. Lemen, 40 Cal. 4th 1141 (2007).  California Supreme Court decision striking down overly broad injunction on speech.
  • Jones Day v. MediaNews Group, Los Angeles Superior Court and California Court of Appeal, 34 Media Law Reporter 1411 (Cal. App. 2006).  We succeeded in defeating an attempt to stymie our newspaper client's reporting about California's voting machines.
  • In 1980, a Los Angeles Dodger all-star and his wife turned to Gary and others to try to stop re-publication of a sports magazine article in a local Los Angeles newspaper, which was, in those days, the only real competition to the LA Times.  We did this in spite of the law against prior restraints by characterizing the article as a post-publication restraint, since the article had already been published and damage evidence was tangible.  It was a bold step, ultimately obtaining a restraint from the trial court for a little over a day, until the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals disagreed with our arguments and reversed the restraint.  But the newspaper altered the re-published article, deleting and amending some of the passages the couple found most offensive and most dangerous to their family's personal safety.
  • Represented NBC fighting off a prior restraint against a Northern California doctor apprehended in an "America's Most Wanted" sting operation.  NBC prevailed and the program aired.


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