- Remember the Caveman Blogger, who sued North Carolina's Board of Dietetics/Nutrition on claims that the state agency was trying to censor his blog because of dietary advice he was sharing?
- Well, on Friday, Oct. 5, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. in the Western District of North Carolina threw out Cooksey's lawsuit, finding the Paleo-diet blogger who's living with type 2 diabetes didn't have standing to sue the state's Board of Dietetics/Nutrition on free speech grounds.
The case is: Steve Cooksey v. Michelle Futrell, et. al., 3:12-cv-336.
- Specifically, the court agreed with a magistrate judge who had earlier determined Cooksey wasn't injured because he voluntarily took down disputed information on this blog. The state board threatened him, but didn't take any action against Cooksey or force him to change his site. So, there was no censorship.
"While there is no doubt that members of the public can seek nutritional and medical advice from countless sources, whether licensed by the state of N.C. or not, plaintiff's interest in providing nutritional advice is outweighed by the defendants' responsibility to the public in that area." - Page 7 of court decision.
"The Court is mindful of the positive changes that plaintiff has made in his own life and plaintiff undoubtedly serves as an inspirational figure who can empower others to begin to take charge of their health. However, the public interest in accurate medical information is strong. Plaintiff is still free to post his experience online and voice his opinion at community discussions, and members of the public may still visit (his) website and use his inspirational story as a springboard to discuss their individual condition with a qualified practitioner." - Page 7-8 of court decision.
- And the response from the attorneys representing Mr. Cooksey...
- And there was some "interesting" discussion that came up online based on the court's decision...
- Now, Cooksey's legal team plans to appeal the lower court ruling to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The appeal = Cooksey v. Futrell, 12-2084.
- Court docket: Opening brief by Cooksey's legal team is due Nov. 15, 2012 and a response brief from the state's due on Dec. 19, 2012.
- Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals panel heard arguments on May 15, 2013. That panel of appellate judges included former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, along with Judges Henry F. Floyd and Stephanie D. Thacker from that federal court. Attorneys arguing case were Mr. Jeff Rowes for Steve Cooksey and Mr. W. Clark Goodman for those representing the North Carolina agency.