On June 29, 2020, on behalf of seven (7) individual constituents and one (1) local business, Walsh Pancio along with the firms Mudrick & Zucker, and Philip Press Law Office filed suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale over blocking social media posts.
While there have been similar suits in other jurisdictions in recent years against President Donald Trump and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for blocking people on Twitter from seeing their accounts, this is the first case of its kind in Pennsylvania.
The suit requests injunctive relief requiring Commissioner Gale to unblock Plaintiffs and restore access to each his public social media accounts; to immediately cease deleting, excising, or disposing of comments or content uploaded to his public social media accounts; and an Order declaring that his conduct in blocking social media posts violates the First Amended to the United States Constitution and/or Article I Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
Plaintiffs’ Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction filed June 29, 2020 is waiting for a hearing to be scheduled by Federal Judge Timothy Savage of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
“If Commissioner Gale chooses to engage in speech on his various social media platforms, all of which are so intertwined with his persona as a public actor, he cannot then supplant the voice of those who wish to post a contrary viewpoint, nor can he deny others the opportunity to experience the full panoply of ideas in this digital public square,” Attorney Joseph P. Walsh said. “He cannot censor the Vox Populi.”
“Commissioner Gale has the right under the First Amendment to say whatever he wishes to say, no matter how abhorrent the viewpoint might be,” Attorney Michael J. Lyon added. “Our clients simply request that he extend them the same right that they are entitled to under the First Amendment as well.”
Any inquires, please contact Attorney Michael J. Lyon of Walsh Pancio, LLC.
In September of 2018, the Honorable Joseph P. Walsh successfully completed training and study to become a certified arbitrator with the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The AAA is a non-profit organization that provides a variety of dispute resolution services to litigants who elect to use its out-of-court processes. The process of becoming an arbitrator involved several days and hours of training, lessons, and interpersonal activities and events. Having been certified, Joe will hear and decide commercial, construction, and consumer matters that arise under the jurisdiction of AAA, or that parties elect to submit to AAA.