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Erwin Chemerinsky, the Most Influential First Amendment Scholar in the United States, Submits Amicus Brief in Support of Harrison Barnes
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Malibu, CA – Harrison Barnes, the founder and principal of Harrison Barnes PLC, is currently involved in a case in front of the Supreme Court of Texas, where the most influential First Amendment scholar in the United States, Erwin Chemerinsky, has assisted our side by submitting an amicus brief.

On February 6, 2014, Erwin Chemerinsky and Professor Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, experts in First Amendment and Internet law, urged the Supreme Court of Texas to rule in favor of Harrison Barnes in the lawsuit Kinney v. Barnes. Professor Erwin Chemerinsky is the founding Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. He has frequently argued matters of constitutional law in front of the nation’s highest courts, including a United States Supreme Court decision involving injunctions in defamation cases. In addition, Professor Lidsky has written extensively on issues of Internet free speech, cyberbullying, and defamation and other privacy torts, including the article, Silencing John Doe: Defamation and Discourse in Cyberspace, 49 Duke L.J. 855 (2000), which was referenced by Kinney in his brief to the high court (but note Professor Lidsky submitted an amicus brief in support of Harrison Barnes – not Kinney).


Kinney was an employee of a legal recruiting firm run by Harrison Barnes. Barnes terminated Kinney’s employment because Kinney devised an unethical kickback scheme, attempting to pay a law firm under the table to hire one of his candidates. Several years after his termination for attempting to bribe someone, Kinney posted a variety of statements disparaging Harrison Barnes and his companies. Instead of using his real name, Kinney lied and used the name “Albert” to disguise his identity. After years of investigation and litigation, Barnes was able to learn “Albert” was Kinney. Despite Kinney hiring a well-known attorney to try and keep his identity secret, Kinney’s identity was ultimately ordered released by two separate courts.

Harrison Barnes contended that these statements constituted defamation and subsequently filed suit against Kinney in California state court for “anonymously maligning Barnes and his companies online.” In August of 2007, a publication owned by Harrison Barnes posted a non-defamatory news item on the website JD Journal about the California litigation. This news item reported on the allegations made in the California suit, including the history of the employment relationship between Harrison Barnes and Kinney, Kinney’s termination, Kinney’s establishment of a business designed to compete with Harrison Barnes’ legal recruiting firm, and Kinney’s decision to post maligning comments about Harrison Barnes and his companies on a website.

Claiming that these statements about the California litigation constituted actionable defamation, Kinney responded to the JD Journal posting by filing a lawsuit against Harrison Barnes for defamation seeking injunctive relief. Both the trial court and the court of appeals in Texas have thrown out Kinney’s case on the grounds that even assuming arguendo that Harrison Barnes’ posting on JD Journal was defamatory (which it is not), that the injunction requested by Kinney would violate the Texas Constitution because it would act as a prior restraint on and infringe upon Harrison Barnes’ First Amendment Rights to free speech.

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The Texas Supreme Court is expected to rule in Kinney v. Barnes soon, and experts in First Amendment and Internet law have urged the Court to rule in Harrison Barnes’ favor and dismiss Kinney’s defamation lawsuit.

In another related action in California between Kinney and Barnes, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District dismissed all six of Kinney’s causes of action, including malicious prosecution and misappropriation. The Court, who ruled on June 23, 2014, determined that Kinney’s lawsuit was barred under the statute of limitations and that Barnes and the other Defendants were entitled to an award of attorney’s fees. To read the Court’s ruling in its entirety, click here.

Harrison Barnes PLC attorneys have ample experience in defamation, internet, and First Amendment law, as well as general litigation, employment law, release estate transactions and litigation, bankruptcy, divorce and family law and criminal law. Harrison Barnes PLC will continue to fiercely defend the rights of their clients.

At Harrison Barnes PLC, the attorneys are proud of their work and of their contributions to their clients’ successes. A commitment to serving the client’s needs best while focusing on high quality work has made this law firm among the preferred choice for litigation matters. “Facing a great opportunity or a major crisis, you need to trust the experience, creativity, and dedication we provide. We are proud to be lawyers,” says founder Harrison Barnes.

About Harrison Barnes PLC:

Harrison Barnes PLC is a Malibu-based law firm that focuses on providing top quality representation to the Malibu community and has won millions of dollars for its clients. For a consultation or to learn more about Harrison Barnes PLC, call (310) 598-1719 or visit


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