ACLU-NJ Defends Free Speech Rights of NYU Law Students

May 2, 2014

ACLU-NJ files brief seeking to quash subpoenas directed at two students who were critical of NYU Law School trustee

NEWARK – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) has filed a brief to quash subpoenas issued to two New York University law school students, seeking their email correspondence about an NYU Law School trustee.

The subpoena was issued after the two students were openly critical of trustee Daniel E. Straus, the CEO and founder of a New Jersey based nursing home company called Care One. Straus has opposed efforts to unionize at Care One and has been locked in disputes with employees at other nursing home companies that he runs.

Care One sued two unions, SEIU 1199 and United Healthcare Workers East, alleging among other things, they used NYU Law student organizations to harass Strauss by holding protests and petitioning for Strauss to be removed from the NYU Law School Board of Trustees based on his anti-union positions and business practices.

The subpoena seeks copies of all email and other correspondence between the two students and the dean of NYU law school, student organizations and the two labor unions in the dispute with Care One.

“The NYU students in this case have the right to express themselves and were engaging in lawful and constitutionally protected speech,” said ACLU-NJ Legal Director Ed Barocas. “This subpoena would force the students to turn over their private emails, which would have a chilling effect on free speech and freedom of association.”

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