The Volokh Conspiracy

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Update on the Barley House injunction


iStock photo

I blogged Saturday about the Barley House case, in which the owners of the Barley House bar in Cleveland are suing two popular YouTube posters, Alissa Violet and FaZe Banks. Based on the Barley House's allegations—apparently without any appearance by the defendants—the court barred "Defendants and all persons in active concert with the Defendants" from, among other things,

publishing on social media platforms any statements, videos, or images concerning Plaintiffs, their employees, their related entities, and their patrons.

I just got more details on the timeline of the proceeding, and it strikes me as even more troubling than I first thought:

1. The restraining order was issued at 4:29 p.m. on Nov. 30.

2. The complaint and motion for the restraining order were filed an hour and a half earlier, at 2:58 p.m. on Nov. 30.

3. According to the motion for the restraining order, the defendants—actually, defendant Banks—apparently were notified of the impending hearing at 2:25 p.m. on Nov. 30, so just half an hour before the start of the hearing; the notification was the plaintiff sending defendant Banks a text message. The lawyer for the plaintiffs says the notification may have been given as early as 1:45 p.m., so perhaps it happened a bit over an hour before the hearing rather than just half an hour.

4. The lawyer for the plaintiffs reports that the defendants were notified in the days before that some lawsuit would be filed against them. But even so, it appears that they weren't told just when and where the hearing would take place (so that they could appear, or find someone to appear for them) until an hour or so before the hearing.

So to the extent that some might defend the order as being based on a court finding that defendants were lying about the plaintiffs, note that this finding happened in a hearing that defendants couldn't realistically be expected to participate in. I think the order is unsound for other reasons as well; but in any event, I thought I'd note this one.