Greater L.A. Agency on Deafness v. CNN, No. 12-15807 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
GLAAD filed a putative class action alleging that CNN violated California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, Cal. Civ. Code 51 et seq., and California's Disabled Persons Act (DPA), Cal. Civ. Code 54 et seq., by intentionally excluding deaf and hard of hearing visitors from accessing the videos on CNN.com. CNN filed a motion to strike under California's anti-SLAPP law, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 425.16 et seq., arguing that GLAAD's claims arose from conduct in furtherance of CNN's free speech rights and that GLAAD failed to establish a probability of prevailing on its claims. The court concluded that CNN's conduct was in furtherance of its free speech rights on a matter of public interest; where, as here, an action directly targeted the way a content provider chose to deliver, present, or publish news content on matters of public interest, that action was based on conduct in furtherance of free speech rights and must withstand scrutiny under California's anti-SLAPP statute; GLAAD failed to establish a probability of success on the merits of its Unruh Act claims because it has not shown intentional discrimination based on disability as required under California law; at this juncture, none of CNN's constitutional challenges posed a barrier to GLAAD's pursuit of its DPA claims; GLAAD's DPA claims were not foreclosed by the doctrines of field preemption and conflict preemption; GLAAD's DPA claims have the requisite minimal merit to survive CNN's free speech challenge and dormant Commerce Clause challenge; and the court certified to the California Supreme Court the remaining dispositive question of state law regarding GLAAD's DPA claims. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order denying CNN's motion to dismiss.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 10, 2014.