Lamar West v. Christina Shea

Central District of California, cacd-8:2020-cv-01293

COMPLAINT Receipt No: ACACDC-27274205 - Fee: $400, filed by plaintiff Lamar West. (Attorney Pedram Esfandiary added to party Lamar West(pty:pla))

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1 Page ID #:1 1 Pedram Esfandiary (SBN: 312569) 2 pesfandiary@baumhedlundlaw.com Monique Alarcon, Esq. (SBN: 311650) 3 malarcon@baumhedlundlaw.com 4 Timothy A. Loranger, Esq. (SBN: 225422) tloranger@baumhedlundlaw.com 5 BAUM HEDLUND ARISTEI 6 GOLDMAN, P.C. 10940 Wilshire Blvd., 17th Floor 7 Los Angeles, CA 90024 8 Telephone: (310) 207-3233 9 Facsimile: (310) 820-7444 10 Attorneys for Plaintiff 11 12 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 13 CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA 14 15 LAMAR WEST, CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 16 Plaintiff 42 U.S.C. § 1983: FIRST AMENDMENT; 17 v. CAL. CONST. ARTICLE I, § 2; DECLARATORY & INJUNCTIVE RELIEF 18 CHRISTINA SHEA, Mayor of Irvine, 19 20 Defendant 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:2 1 TABLE OF CONTENTS 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS ..................................................................................................................... i 3 INTRODUCTION.................................................................................................................................1 4 JURISDICTION AND VENUE ...........................................................................................................3 5 PARTIES ...............................................................................................................................................3 6 I. Plaintiff ...........................................................................................................................3 7 II. Defendant ........................................................................................................................3 8 FACTS ...................................................................................................................................................3 9 I. Facebook .........................................................................................................................3 10 II. Mayor Shea's Facebook Page and Profiles .....................................................................5 11 III. Plaintiff's Criticism of the Mayor and the Mayor's Banning of Plaintiff.....................11 12 FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION.............................................................................................................17 13 Violation of the First Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Cal. Const. Article 1, Section 2(a)) ...17 14 (Censorship in a Public Forum).........................................................................................................17 SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION ........................................................................................................17 15 (Violation of the First Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Cal. Const. Article 1, Section 2(a)) ..17 16 (Viewpoint Discrimination) ................................................................................................................17 17 THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION ...........................................................................................................18 18 (Declaratory & Injunctive Relief)......................................................................................................18 19 REQUEST FOR RELIEF ..................................................................................................................18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 i CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:3 1 INTRODUCTION 2 1. This case concerns an individual's right to criticize a public official in an 3 online public forum without being censored or discriminated against based on the 4 content of his speech. Plaintiff, Mr. Lamar West, is a resident of Irvine, California that 5 criticized the views and actions of his elected official, Irvine Mayor Christina Shea 6 within the public forum of the social media site Facebook. Specifically, plaintiff 7 challenged the mayor's official position on the recent nationwide protests against 8 police oppression of communities of color. In response, Mayor Shea "blocked" 9 plaintiff from her Facebook profile, thereby precluding plaintiff from participating in 10 the Mayor's discussions with constituents and from being able to view "posts" by the 11 Mayor and the public's response to them. In so doing, Mayor Shea censored 12 Plaintiff's voice during a critical time of public debate in the country regarding 13 systematic racism and police violence against Black people. 14 2. The internet is among the most important places for the exchange of 15 views, enabling a person "to become a town crier with a voice that resonates farther 16 than it could from any soapbox." Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 117 S. Ct. 17 2329, 2344 (1997). As the Supreme Court recently recognized, social media platforms 18 like Facebook are the "vast democratic forums of the Internet"—modern public 19 squares where Americans can debate politics, religion, and other social issues, and 20 provide "perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make 21 his or her voice heard." Id. at 2343; Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 22 1743 (2017). These platforms have been "revolutionary" not least because they have 23 transformed civic engagement by allowing elected officials to communicate 24 instantaneously and directly with their constituents. Platforms such as Facebook 25 enable ordinary citizens to speak directly to public officials and to listen to and debate 26 others about public issues, in much the same way they could if they were gathered on a 27 sidewalk or in a public park, or at a city council meeting or town hall. 28 1 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:4 1 3. Because of the way the mayor, a public official, uses her Facebook 2 account, the account is a public forum under the First Amendment. Defendant has 3 made the account accessible to all, taking advantage of Facebook's interactive 4 platform to directly engage her constituents. The mayor's posts routinely generate 5 dozens of comments in the vibrant discussion forum associated with her account. 6 Defendant has used the account to make formal announcements, state the mayor's 7 official position on social and political controversies, update users on mayoral 8 activities, and other matters. Facebook users are entitled, unless prevented by Mayor 9 Shea, to comment on these posts or those of other speakers. Any member of the public 10 with an account is thus able to review and consider the viewpoints—often 11 competing—expressed on the mayor's profile. Under governing law, Mayor Shea's 12 Facebook profile thus qualifies as a public forum under the First Amendment and the 13 California constitution 14 4. Because of their criticism of the mayor's tenure and position on recent 15 social events, plaintiff and a host of other individuals have been prevented or impeded 16 from viewing the mayor's profile, from replying to her posts, from viewing the 17 discussions associated with the posts, and from participating in those discussions. 18 Accordingly, defendant's actions violated plaintiff's First Amendment right to express 19 dissent in response to the mayor's policies and to view and interact with the comments 20 of others that have similarly expressed such dissent. 21 5. Plaintiff respectfully requests that the Court enter judgment declaring that 22 defendant's exclusion of plaintiff from the profile violates the First Amendment of the 23 U.S. Constitution and Article 1, Section 2(a) of the California Constitution, enjoining 24 defendant from engaging in unlawful censorship of comments, mandating that 25 defendant restore plaintiff's posting privileges, and awarding plaintiff damages, 26 attorneys' fees and costs. 27 28 2 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:5 1 JURISDICTION AND VENUE 2 6. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's federal 3 constitutional claims under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343, and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 4 1988, because they arise under the Constitution and laws of the United States. 5 7. This court has subject matter jurisdiction over plaintiff's California state 6 constitutional claims under 28 U.S.C. § 1367, because they substantially relate, both 7 legally and factually, to the federal constitutional claims upon which original 8 jurisdiction is premised. 9 8. This court has jurisdiction to grant declaratory and injunctive relief 10 pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2201-02 and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 11 9. Venue is proper within the Central District of California pursuant to 28 12 U.S.C. § 1391(b)(1) and (2) because defendant resides within this district and the 13 events and omissions giving rise to plaintiff's claims occurred within this district. 14 PARTIES 15 I. Plaintiff 16 10. Plaintiff Lamar West ("plaintiff") is a software engineer and Irvine 17 constituent. Plaintiff is, and at all times material hereto was, a resident of Orange 18 County. 19 II. Defendant 20 11. Defendant Christina Shea ("defendant", the "mayor" or "Mayor Shea") 21 is the Mayor of the City of Irvine, California. At all times material hereto, defendant 22 acted under color of state law, in her capacity as Mayor of the City of Irvine. 23 Defendant is, and at all times material hereto was, a resident of Orange County. 24 Defendant is sued in her individual capacity as the Mayor of Irvine. 25 FACTS 26 I. Facebook 27 12. Facebook is a social media platform with more than 2.6 billion active 28 users worldwide including some 223 million users within the United States. The site 3 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:6 1 allows users to upload content—including text, news articles, photos, and video. It 2 also permits other users to respond to, comment on and interact with others in relation 3 to such content. 4 13. Profile. A profile is the home page of a Facebook account typically used 5 by private individuals. It is "a place on Facebook where you can share information 6 about yourself, such as your interests, photos, videos, current city and hometown."1 7 Individuals operating a profile may elect to keep all, some, or none of its features 8 private and can select specific populations – such as friends, family, anyone with a 9 Facebook account or even those without an account – to view the page and its 10 contents. 11 14. Page. In contrast to a "profile," a Facebook "page" is a way for 12 "[b]usinesses, organizations and public figures" to "connect with their customers or 13 fans."2 However, it is common—as in the matter at bar—for a public figure to operate 14 a profile and a page contemporaneously and to use both to connect with the broader 15 public. 16 15. Posts. The content that a Facebook user shares with friends, followers or 17 the public is called a "post." Posts can be made by the owner of a profile or page, or 18 by other users who visit a profile or page. 19 16. Replying or commenting. Facebook users can respond to or comment 20 on posts, unless not permitted to do so. This is called "replying" or "commenting." 21 Replies appear immediately under the post to which they respond, thereby reflecting 22 the interaction of ideas or viewpoints that the Facebook page or profile is intended to 23 foster. 24 17. Sharing. Facebook users can "share" another user's post when 25 authorized, thereby publishing the post on such user's own profile or page. 26 27 1 See Facebook, What's the difference between a profile, Page, and a group?, available at https://www.facebook.com/help/337881706729661?helpref=faq_content. 28 2 See Facebook, About: Pages, available at https://www.facebook.com/help/282489752085908?helpref=faq_content. 4 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:7 1 18. Banning and deleting. An owner of a Facebook profile or page controls 2 its content. They may delete posts made by other users and may "block" a user from 3 posting on the profile or page. Relevant to the instant matter, a user blocked from a 4 profile is prevented from viewing, commenting, posting, or otherwise contributing to 5 the profile, and is thereby excluded from participation in the online dialogue or debate. 6 II. Mayor Shea's Facebook Page and Profiles 7 19. Mayor Shea maintains two Facebook "profiles", both under the name 8 "Christina Shea", as well as a Facebook "page" titled "Christina Shea, Irvine City 9 Mayor." For purposes of this Complaint, the First Amendment violations alleged 10 herein occurred on Mayor Shea's most active and popular "Personal Profile" (referred 11 to herein as "Personal Profile" or "Profile"). Mayor Shea's second and less active 12 profile is referred to herein as Mayor Shea's "Official Profile." 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 5 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:8 1 20. Mayor Shea operates her profiles and page as public fora and a means for 2 direct communication with constituents regarding official mayoral business. Indeed, 3 the mayor's Personal Profile appears to be more public than her page, boasting 1,750 4 followers and almost 5,000 friends compared to the page's 431 followers and her 5 Official Profile with only 21 friends. 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 6 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:9 1 21. Since its inception, Mayor Shea has used her Profile—which is viewable 2 by the public without the need to befriend or follow the mayor on Facebook—to 3 disseminate information regarding mayoral and city council activities, share the 4 mayor's official position on social and political issues, and communicate with 5 constituents regarding a host of topics ranging from Irvine public safety to the 6 inauguration of new parks and buildings—all with greater frequency than her page.3 7 For example, on January 15, 2020, the Mayor posted an announcement on her Profile 8 informing the public that she "coauthored an ordinance with Councilmember Farrah 9 Kahn to ban flavored tobacco vaping products targeted to minors. It was passed 10 unanimously." The post was liked by 32 people, received 5 comments from 11 constituents, and was "shared" 3 times. A day later, the mayor posted another update 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 3 Indeed, between April 29 and June 4, the mayor did not upload a single post on her 28 page, whereas, during the same time period, the mayor posted repeatedly regarding issues in her mayoral capacity on her Personal Profile. 7 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:10 1 from council meetings, stating: "we also approved the Wild Rivers Water Park to be 2 built in the Great Park." This post was liked by 74 people and received 12 comments 3 from constituents. 4 4 22. Moreover, the mayor's frequent broadcasts of official business on her 5 Profile are regularly accompanied by photographs. As illustrated below, on March 3, 6 2020, the mayor posted a picture featuring herself in a meeting with officials from the 7 Transportation Corridor Agency ("TCA") and the caption: "Planning the 241/91 8 extension for our Toll Road customers. Working on engineering plans with TCA 9 staff…" Earlier, in December 2019, the mayor had shared several photographs of 10 herself posing with other TCA officials on the site of a bridge construction project. 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 4 27 The screenshots depicted and referenced throughout this Complaint were obtained directly from the mayor's Profile using an account that is neither a "friend" or 28 "follower" of the mayor on Facebook, underscoring the fact that the Profile is open for viewing and comment by any user—except those the mayor has blocked. 8 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:11 1 This post was liked by 39 people, received 6 comments from the public, and was 2 reshared once. 3 23. Two months after assuming office, the mayor informed the public through 4 her Profile that she had "officiated over the Dedication of our newest community park 5 at Los Olivos [sic], the southern most [sic] area of Irvine. We have created a wonderful 6 center with an interactive youth playground. See Councilmember Anthony Kuo 7 enjoying the new disabilities swing in the playground." The announcement was well- 8 received by constituents—one of whom thanked the mayor and councilmember Kuo 9 for their "outstanding service" by responding directly to the post. The mayor also 10 interacted with her constituents by replying to some of their comments. 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 24. Other examples of the mayor opening up her Profile to public discourse 25 include photographs of the mayor—when she was still serving as a councilmember— 26 receiving constituents at City Hall, live updates from local governmental and agency 27 meetings, and information regarding the mayor's swearing-in ceremony (which was 28 9 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:12 1 liked by 194 people, received 85 comments and re-shared 24 times), as illustrated by 2 the below screenshots from the mayor's Profile. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 10 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:13 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 25. Like other public figures that use their profiles for communicating with 13 the broader populace, Mayor Shea's Profile is interactive. It provides a platform for 14 constituents to voice their approval of the mayor's and City Council's policies and 15 practices—and purportedly their critiques—along with an opportunity for Mayor Shea 16 to respond. For all intents and purposes, the mayor's Facebook Profile is a public 17 forum—hosted by a government official—subject to the First Amendment. 18 III. Plaintiff's Criticism of the Mayor and the Mayor's Banning of Plaintiff 19 26. The recent brutal murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud 20 Arbery—the most current culmination of historical police oppression of the Black 21 community—brought the United States to a crossroads. The tragic fact is that these 22 three individuals were not the first to have their lives taken by a militarized police 23 force and, as recent as their deaths are, have not been the last.5 24 5 25 In the midst of the ongoing demonstrations, law enforcement agencies throughout the nation are continuing to brutalize communities of color, as demonstrated by the June 26 12 and 18 shootings of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta and Andres Guardado in Gardena, 27 respectively. See Atlanta Police Shooting: Rayshard Brooks Death Declared Homicide (BBC NEWS, June 15, 2020), available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world- 28 us-canada-53047282; LA County Sheriff's Deputies Shoot and Kill 18-Year-Old in 11 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:14 1 27. Upon the passing of George Floyd, residents of Minneapolis (where Mr. 2 Floyd was murdered) took to the streets to denounce systemic racism and the history of 3 violence which has targeted Black lives. Although activists, scholars and community 4 organizers have for decades demanded the defunding of the nation's militarized police 5 forces and reinvestment into community initiates and services, calls to defund law 6 enforcement have recently flooded popular discourse and gained new momentum. 7 Soon, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across the country—in cities and towns 8 large and small—joined Minneapolis in demanding immediate divestment and change, 9 including the residents of Orange County. Protests, as well as a fervent public 10 conversation regarding such issues, are continuing. 11 28. On June 3, 2020, when protests were at their most fevered pitch, Mayor 12 Shea posted a status on her Profile which read: 13 I received several email messages today from Black Lives Matter 14 By the way, we have one Council candidate maybe more, supporting and promoting this movement ... 15 16 I say this because I was asked today to cut funding for our Public Safety Dept and reallocate the money to community issues such as 17 homelessness etc 18 We have been named one of the Safest Cities in America for 15 19 years in a row and I will not agree to reduce our public safety 20 funding especially after seeing the violence we have endured as a 21 nation this past week, If you are coming into Irvine to promote an agenda, and protest for lesser public safety protection best you turn 22 around and find another city to compromise. 23 24 25 26 27 Gardena (LAIST, June 22, 2020), available at: 28 https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-06-25/deputy-andres-guardado- shooting-identified 12 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:15 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 29. As is apparent, the post generated a lively and heated discussion involving 15 several hundred people—including the mayor—over the ensuing days.6 Many folks, 16 such as plaintiff, criticized the mayor's response to calls for divestment from 17 militarized policing and reinvestment in the most vulnerable communities of our 18 society, whereas others supported the mayor's decision to not accept the demands of 19 Black Lives Matter. 20 30. Plaintiff, a Black man and Irvine constituent, responded the same day and 21 criticized the mayor's official position and policy decision, stating: "Like other 22 6 The screenshot of the mayor's June 3 post was taken by Plaintiff before he was 23 blocked from the Profile. That same day, the mayor also posted another status 24 regarding the protests which read: "Right now we have a huge crowd of protesters at 25 City Hall Signs with very rude comments people in the street blocking traffic…received a call a resident's car was hit trying to get home by protesters in the 26 street blocking traffic and we are being asked to lessen public safety?" This post 27 generated more than 100 comments, was reshared several times and was liked by 67 people. Plaintiff did not respond to this post, but other constituents referenced in this 28 Complaint that did respond with criticism to the post were also blocked or had their comments deleted by the mayor. 13 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:16 1 educated people have mentioned it's okay for you to support the movement and not 2 defund the police but you don't want to do either. I can hear the racist ancestors of 3 yours in this post and it's sickening. Enjoy your position while it last…" 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 14 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:17 1 31. Mayor Shea responded to some of her critics as evinced by the preceding 2 and following screenshots. 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 32. However, soon after plaintiff expressed his views within this public 11 forum, the mayor responded by blocking plaintiff, thereby preventing him from being 12 able to view or interact with the mayor's Profile, including the ability to participate in 13 the conversation regarding the June 3 post or any other discussion thread. Upon being 14 blocked, plaintiff received the following message when attempting to access the 15 mayor's Profile: "Sorry, this content isn't available right now. The link you followed 16 may have expired, or the page may only be visible to an audience you're not in." As 17 of the filing of this lawsuit, plaintiff remains blocked from Mayor Shea's Facebook 18 Profile, and is thereby unable to comment, contribute, or participate in any of the 19 discussions and debates occurring within this forum. 20 33. Plaintiff was not the only individual that was blocked or had their 21 comment deleted by the mayor. Upon information and belief, Ms. Jessica Ortega— 22 whose critical comment may be seen above and to whom the mayor responded—was 23 blocked by the mayor; Ms. Ladan Rashidi, after posting three comments on the 24 mayor's profile wherein she criticized the mayor's response to the protests, had all of 25 her comments deleted by the mayor and was subsequently blocked from the mayor's 26 Profile; Ms. Nikka Aminmadani, who also submitted comments in response to the 27 mayor's June 3 posts, was blocked by the mayor; and a Mr. Collin Pollum and his 28 relative were blocked, like plaintiff, for criticizing the mayor's administration and 15 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:18 1 response to the protests. Tellingly, the mayor did not block users or delete comments 2 that supported her position and policy. 3 34. The mayor's unconstitutional conduct was met with wide-spread 4 condemnation, with interest groups and advocates—including plaintiff—contacting the 5 mayor to demand that she immediately unblock her critics and restore posts that she 6 deleted as a result of viewpoint discrimination.7 The mayor's only response has been 7 to delete her June 3 posts as well as other posts that generated extensive discussion, 8 and include a disclaimer within the "info" box of her Profile informing the public that 9 "this is not a government page". These after-the-fact attempts at avoiding liability do 10 not change the fact that the mayor's Profile was a public forum when plaintiff and 11 others exercised their First Amendment rights by participating in the discussion on the 12 Profile and remains so to this day. 13 35. The mayor's actions clearly suppressed speech within a public forum and 14 during a period of intense public controversy concerning use of force by law 15 enforcement and systematic racism, which precluded plaintiff from being included or 16 able to participate in a robust public debate. Mayor Shea's conduct is particularly 17 egregious where, amid a pandemic, social distancing guidelines have largely limited 18 citizens' ability to engage with public officials and participate in public discourse to 19 virtual settings, rather than in person. At a minimum, the Mayor acted in reckless and 20 callous disregard for plaintiff's rights. 21 22 23 24 7 Noah Biesiada, National First Amendment Advocates Condemn Irvine Mayor's 25 Facebook Blocking Activity (VOICE OF OC, June 11, 2020), available at: https://voiceofoc.org/2020/06/national-first-amendment-advocates-condemn-irvine- 26 mayors-facebook-blocking-activity/ 27 Ben Brazil, Irvine Mayor Christina Shea under fire for comments criticizing Black Lives Matter protests (LA TIMES, June 8, 2020), available at: 28 https://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/entertainment/story/2020-06-08/irvine- mayor-christina-shea-under-fire-for-comments-criticizing-black-lives-matter-protests 16 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:19 1 FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION 2 Violation of the First Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Cal. Const. Article 1, 3 Section 2(a)) 4 (Censorship in a Public Forum) 5 36. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates by this reference each of the foregoing 6 paragraphs, as if fully set forth in this claim for relief. 7 37. The Mayor Shea Facebook Profile constitutes a public forum under the 8 United States and California Constitutions. 9 38. At the time she banned plaintiff from her Facebook Profile, Mayor Shea 10 was acting under color of state law. 11 39. Mayor Shea's banning of plaintiff from her Facebook Profile was not 12 content-neutral, nor narrowly tailored to serve important government interests, nor did 13 it leave open ample alternative channels for communication. For these and other 14 reasons, the mayor's conduct infringed upon plaintiff's rights under the First 15 Amendment to the United States Constitution and the California Constitution, Article 16 I, Section 2(a), and 42 U.S.C 1983. 17 40. Plaintiff has no clear and adequate remedy at law for this violation of his 18 constitutional rights and has suffered irreparable injury as a result of defendant's 19 conduct, which will continue unless and until enjoined by appropriate order of this 20 court. Plaintiff is also entitled to compensatory damages for the violation of his 21 constitutional rights. 22 SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION 23 (Violation of the First Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Cal. Const. Article 1, 24 Section 2(a)) 25 (Viewpoint Discrimination) 26 41. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates by this reference each of the foregoing 27 paragraphs, as if fully set forth in this claim for relief. 28 17 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:20 1 42. Defendant blocked plaintiff from her Facebook Profile because of the 2 viewpoints he expressed on that Profile in response to a post by defendant. Mayor 3 Shea's banning of plaintiff based on his viewpoints violated plaintiff's right to freedom 4 of expression under the United States and California Constitutions, and 42 U.S.C. 5 1983. 6 43. Plaintiff has no clear and adequate remedy at law for this violation of his 7 constitutional rights and has suffered irreparable injury as a result of defendant's 8 conduct, which will continue unless and until enjoined by appropriate order of this 9 court. Plaintiff is also entitled to compensatory damages for the violation of his 10 constitutional rights. 11 THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION 12 (Declaratory & Injunctive Relief) 13 44. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates by this reference each of the foregoing 14 paragraphs, as if fully set forth in this claim for relief. 15 45. There exists an actual, present, and justiciable controversy between 16 plaintiff and defendant concerning plaintiff's right to participate in public debate by 17 posting, responding, and commenting on the Mayor Shea Facebook Profile. 18 46. Without intervention by this court, plaintiff, who wishes to participate in a 19 public forum but has been denied access, has no adequate remedy at law to protect the 20 future lawful exercise of his constitutional rights and will suffer irreparable harm, 21 thereby entitling him to injunctive relief. 22 47. This controversy is ripe for judicial decision, and declaratory relief is 23 necessary and appropriate so that the parties may know the legal obligations that 24 govern their present and future conduct. 25 REQUEST FOR RELIEF 26 WHEREFORE, plaintiff respectfully prays for judgment as follows: 27 a) Declaring that by blocking plaintiff from the mayor's Facebook Profile, 28 defendant has violated plaintiff's rights under the First Amendment of the 18 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT 1 Page ID #:21 1 United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. section 1983, and Article 1, Section 2(a) 2 of the California Constitution; 3 b) Granting injunctive relief enjoining defendant from engaging in unlawful 4 censorship against plaintiff and others similarly situated by blocking them on the 5 Mayor Shea Facebook Profile based on the content or viewpoint of their posts; 6 c) Granting injunctive relief mandating that defendant "unblock" plaintiff from the 7 Mayor Shea Facebook Profile, and enjoining defendant henceforth from 8 blocking plaintiff or deleting his posts; 9 d) Awarding plaintiff compensatory damages; 10 e) Awarding plaintiff his reasonable attorney fees and costs; and 11 f) Granting any additional relief as may be just and proper. 12 13 Respectfully submitted, 14 Dated: July 20, 2020 BAUM HEDLUND ARISTEI & GOLDMAN, P.C. 15 16 By: /s/ Pedram Esfandiary Pedram Esfandiary, Esq. 17 pesfandiary@baumhedlundlaw.com 18 Monique Alarcon, Esq. malarcon@baumhedlundlaw.com 19 Timothy A. Loranger, Esq. 20 tloranger@baumhedlundlaw.com BAUM HEDLUND ARISTEI GOLDMAN, P.C. 21 10940 Wilshire Boulevard, 17th Floor 22 Los Angeles, CA 90024 23 Telephone: (310) 207-3233 ___________________________ 24 Attorneys for Plaintiff 25 26 27 28 19 CIVIL RIGHTS COMPLAINT