Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, April 1, 2019


Page 1


C.A. Orders Publication of Portion of Opinion Lifting Prior Restraint

Acceding to Requests, Panel Decides That Official Reports Should Include Disapproval of Order That Man Not Allude to Divorce Case on Facebook


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The Court of Appeal for this district has decided to publish that portion of its Feb. 26 opinion in which it holds that a domestic violence restraining order against a Los Angeles attorney is an unconstitutional prior restraint in the extent that it forbids him from posting “anything” on Facebook about the case in which he is being sued for divorce.

Div. Three issued its order for publication on Thursday; it was made public Friday.

The order against posting “anything about the case on Facebook” was imposed on Encino attorney Michael M. Molinaro by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Amy M. Pellman. It mirrored an order made earlier by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Thomas Trent Lewis.

Egerton’s Opinion

Justice Egerton wrote the opinion partially reversing Pellman’s order, declaring:

“[W]here a restraint on the freedom of speech is concerned, the restriction must be necessary and narrowly tailored to promoting those interests. The part of the restraining order prohibiting Michael from posting about the case on Facebook does not meet this test. We conclude it is overbroad, constituting an invalid prior restraint, and must be stricken from the domestic violence restraining order.”

Partial publication was requested by UCLA School of Law Professor Eugene Volokh and by Erin C. Smith of Oakland, on behalf of the Family Violence Appellate Project, of which she is executive director. Publication of the full opinion was urged by Encino lawyer Leslie Ellen Shear on behalf of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists.

Supreme Court Alerted

Div. Three on Thursday forwarded the requests to the California Supreme Court, pursuant to a court rule, indicating its own determination that only the portion of the opinion on the prior restraint meets the criteria for publication.

The case is Molinaro v. Molinaro, 2019 S.O.S. 1513.

Michael Molinaro represented himself and Burbank attorney Lauren Longeretta acted for the plaintiff, Bertha Molinaro.


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