Safelite’s attorneys have filed a memorandum in the Second Circuit Court further arguing in favor of their motion for an emergency injunction halting enforcement of Connecticut’s anti-steering law pending appeal, claiming, “the state relies on imagined procedural errors” in its argument against a preliminary injunction. The law, Public Act 13-67, went into effect January 1. Circuit Court Judge Susan Carney had denied Safelite’s request for an emergency stay, referring the matter to a three-judge motions’ panel.
After the lower District Court denied Safelite’s motion for a preliminary injunction in mid December, Safelite immediately appealed to the Circuit Court.
“Having nothing of substance to offer in response to Safelite’s motion for an injunction pending appeal, the state relies on imagined procedural errors, faulting Safelite for seeking emergency relief directly from this [Circuit] Court over the holidays,” Safelite’s attorneys claim in their latest filing. “But contrary to the state’s assertion, Federal Rule of the Appellate Procedure 8 permits Safelite to seek relief directly from this court, particularly where Safelite had only days before the statute became effective and impaired Safelite’s constitutional rights.
“Nor can the state escape this court’s review by mischaracterizing the District Court’s statutory interpretation as ‘factual finding.’ Rhetoric aside, the state offers no legitimate reason to deny an injunction pending appeal. To the contrary, what is extraordinary here is the District Court’s dramatic expansion of the state’s ability to regulate speech, in contravention of the First Amendment and this [Circuit] Court’s precedents,” Safelite’s attorneys claim.
Safelite’s attorneys go on to claim, “Left unchecked, the District Court’s rationale would not only allow states to co-opt the messages of commercial entities and force them to advertise for their competitors, but would permit a state to force businesses to carry any messages the state demands, so long as that message can conceivably be characterized as ‘factual.’”
Safelite asks the three-judge motions’ panel to “grant an injunction pending appeal.”
In their first response to Safelite’s appeal, attorneys representing Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and Thomas Leonardi, state insurance commissioner, claim in court papers, “[T]he state opposes Safelite’s effort to so severely truncate the briefing schedule in this appeal. Safelite has not demonstrated—beyond a bald assertion of irreparable harm—that the extraordinary relief of a significantly shortened briefly schedule is necessary to prevent substantial injury or preserve its ability to obtain appellate review.”
In their lawsuit against Connecticut, company attorneys claim Safelite is the only entity covered by the law. Connecticut’s attorneys, meanwhile, claim the law is intended “to protect consumer choice.”
No further Circuit Court decisions had been issued at press time.
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Public court records are available:
To view a copy of Safelite’s latest memorandum, click here.
To view a copy of the Second Circuit Court’s decision, click here.
To view Safelite’s appeal, click here.
To view Connecticut’s response, click here.