Epstein Becker Green secured the complete dismissal of a highly contentious First Amendment lawsuit brought against a state legislator in federal court. In 2018, the state’s Attorney General selected EBG to serve as outside counsel for a state lawmaker accused of violating a high school student’s First Amendment rights by offering free campaign t-shirts during a visit to the state capital.
This contentious litigation included EBG’s successful appeal to the district court of a magistrate judge’s decision to allow the plaintiff to proceed anonymously. EBG’s pre-discovery investigation revealed the plaintiff was, in fact, the family member of an individual running against our client in the next election, and that a political action committee adverse to our client had contributed substantial sums of money to the plaintiff’s attorneys. In a rare pre-discovery dismissal, the district court agreed with EBG that the plaintiff’s lawsuit failed to allege any violation of a constitutionally protected right; the student’s graduation had rendered the dispute moot, and that even if such a violation had occurred, our client was entitled to qualified immunity.