Feb. 19, 2014
Alabama Supreme Court Should Lift Gag Order on Customers and Attorney in Exterminator Case
Public Citizen filed a petition late Tuesday urging the Alabama Supreme Court to lift a gag order that prevents more than 100 plaintiffs and their attorney from speaking about a case against an exterminating company.
The unusual gag order, entered on Jan. 7, by the Circuit Court of Etowah County, Ala., forbids attorney Thomas F. Campbell, anyone from his firm, Campbell Law PC, and any of the more than 100 customers whom the firm is currently representing in a suit against A-1 Exterminating from speaking publicly or privately about the company. On behalf of unhappy customers, Campbell is suing A-1 Exterminating for promising, but not providing, effective termite treatment.
The petition asks the state Supreme Court to order Circuit Judge William Rhea to rescind the gag order because it is a prior restraint impermissible under the First Amendment. In addition, it violates the First Amendment because it was issued without giving Campbell an opportunity to be heard and without evidence of a need for such an injunction.
Read the full petition (PDF).