Leeds v. Meltz (trial court and appeal)

Lawsuits, Miscellaneous

The advertiser submitted an advertisement for publication to the a law school’s student paper, which asked people for material that would discredit certain individuals for use in a federal civil rights action. The editors rejected the advertisement for fear that it would lead to a defamation lawsuit. The advertiser filed a lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. ยง 1983, which alleged that appellees had violated his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights when they failed to publish the advertisement. The district court granted appellees’ Fed. R. Civ. P. 12b(6) motion and dismissed the complaint because the advertiser’s wholly conclusory allegations failed to support any plausible inference of state action. On appeal, the court held that the advertiser’s complaint did not provide a plausible basis for inferring that the editors were state actors when they rejected the advertisement. In affirming the judgment, the court found that the university did not have control over the editorial decisions of the editors and that their decision to reject the advertisement could not be fairly attributable to the state.

Leeds v. Meltz, 898 F. Supp. 146
Leeds v. Meltz, 85 F.3d 51

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