Animal Legal Def. Fund v. Kelly

Decision Date19 August 2021
Docket NumberNo. 20-3082,20-3082
Parties ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND; Center for Food Safety; Shy 38, Inc.; Hope Sanctuary, Plaintiffs - Appellees, v. Laura KELLY, in her official capacity as Governor of Kansas; Derek Schmidt, in his official capacity as Attorney General of Kansas, Defendants - Appellants. United Food and Commercial Workers International Union ; The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press; Atlantic Media, Inc. ; The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition; First Look Media Works, Inc. ; Freedom of the Press Foundation ; The International Documentary Association; The Investigative Reporting Workshop; The Kansas Institute For Government Transparency; The Kansas Press Association ; The Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government; The Media Institute; Meredith Corporation; MPA - The Association of Magazine Media; National Press Photographers Association; The News Leaders Association; Politico LLC; Radio Television Digital News Association; The Society of Environmental Journalists; The Society of Professional Journalists; American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Kansas; American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Utah; Enrique Armijo; Ashutosh Bhagwat; Erwin Chemerinsky; Heidi Kitrosser; Helen Norton; Jonathan Peters ; Joseph Thai; Alexander Tsesis; Rebecca Tushnet; United Farm Workers of America, Amici Curiae.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit

Brant M. Laue, Deputy Solicitor General (Derek Schmidt, Attorney General of Kansas; Jeffrey A. Chanay, Chief Deputy Attorney General; Toby Crouse, Solicitor General of Kansas; Dwight R. Carswell, Assistant Solicitor General, with him on the briefs), Office of Attorney General, Topeka, Kansas, for DefendantsAppellants.

Alan K. Chen, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Strategic Litigation Project, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado (Matthew Strugar, Law Office of Matthew Strugar, Los Angeles, California; Michael D. Moss, Foley & Mansfield, P.L.L.P., Overland Park, Kansas; Justin Marceau, Of Counsel, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Strategic Litigation Project, University of Denver Sturm College of Law, Denver, Colorado; Kelsey Eberly, Alene Anello, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Cotati, California; David S. Muraskin, Public Justice, P.C., Washington, D.C.; George A. Kimbrell, Portland, Oregon, with him on the briefs), for PlaintiffsAppellees.

George Wiszynski, Association General Counsel; Joey Hipolito, Assistant General Counsel; Joshua Shreve, Law Fellow, UFCW International Union, Washington, D.C., and Todd J. McNamara, McNamara & Shechter, LLP, Denver, Colorado, filed an amicus brief in support of appellees on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

Lisa Hoppenjans, First Amendment Clinic, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, St. Louis, Missouri, filed an amicus brief in support of appellees on behalf of First Amendment Scholars.

Vanessa Shakib, Advancing Law for Animals, Redondo Beach, California, and Mario Martinez, Martinez Aguilasocho & Lynch, APLC, Bakersfield, California, filed an amicus brief in support of appellees on behalf of United Farm Workers of America.

Lauren Bonds, Sharon Brett, ACLU Foundation of Kansas, Overland Park, Kansas, and John M. Mejia, Leah Farrell, Jason M. Groth, ACLU Foundation of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, filed an amicus brief in support of appellees on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Foundation of Kansas and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Utah.

Steven D. Zansberg, Ballard Spahr, LLP, Denver, Colorado, filed an amicus brief in support of appellees on behalf of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 18 Media Organizations.

Before HARTZ, MURPHY, and McHUGH, Circuit Judges.

McHUGH, Circuit Judge.

The Kansas Farm Animal and Field Crop and Research Facilities Protection Act (the "Act") criminalizes certain actions directed at an animal facility without effective consent of the owner of the facility and with intent to damage the enterprise of such facility. The Act provides that consent is not effective if induced through deception. Animal Legal Defense Fund ("ALDF") wishes to perform investigations by planting ALDF investigators as employees of animal facilities. Once employed, these investigators would document abuse of animals that ALDF would then publicize. Because investigators would be willing to lie about their association with ALDF, ALDF fears its investigations would run afoul of the Act. ALDF therefore took preemptive action and sued the Governor of Kansas, Laura Kelly, and the Attorney General of Kansas, Derek Schmidt, in their official capacities, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the ground that the Act violates the First Amendment's Free Speech Clause.

The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The district court granted both motions in part. It determined ALDF had standing to challenge only three subsections of the Act, Title 47, sections 1827(b), (c), and (d) of the Kansas Statutes Annotated. Subsection (b) forbids acquiring or exercising control over an animal facility without effective consent of the owner and with intent to damage the enterprise; subsection (c) forbids recording, attempting to record, or trespassing to record on an animal facility's property without effective consent of the owner and with intent to damage the enterprise; and subsection (d) forbids trespassing on an animal facility without effective consent of the owner and with intent to damage the enterprise. The district court held these provisions were unconstitutional.

Following the decision on the cross-motions for summary judgment, ALDF moved for a permanent injunction against enforcement of the relevant subsections of the Act. The district court granted its request. Kansas appeals from both the order on the cross-motions for summary judgment and the order granting a permanent injunction, arguing the district court erred in holding the relevant subsections of the Act unconstitutional.

Exercising jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm. Subsections (b), (c), and (d) of the Act concern speech because they include deception as a possible element and are viewpoint discriminatory because they apply only to persons who intend to damage the enterprise of an animal facility. Because the "intent to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility" requirement, e.g. § 47-1827(c), is a broad element that does not delineate protected from unprotected speech, Kansas must satisfy strict scrutiny. It has not attempted to do so.

I. BACKGROUND
A. The Act

The Act has four sections: a short title, § 47-1825; a definitions section, § 47-1826; an operative section, § 47-1827 ; and a civil remedy section, § 47-1828. In relevant part, the operative section provides:

(a) No person shall, without the effective consent of the owner and with the intent to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility, damage or destroy an animal facility or any animal or property in or on an animal facility.
(b) No person shall, without the effective consent of the owner, acquire or otherwise exercise control over an animal facility, an animal from an animal facility or other property from an animal facility, with the intent to deprive the owner of such facility, animal or property and to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility.
(c) No person shall, without the effective consent of the owner and with the intent to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility:
(1) [e]nter an animal facility, not then open to the public, with intent to commit an act prohibited by this section;
(2) remain concealed, with intent to commit an act prohibited by this section, in an animal facility;
(3) enter an animal facility and commit or attempt to commit an act prohibited by this section; or
(4) enter an animal facility to take pictures by photograph, video camera or by any other means.
(d)(1) No person shall, without the effective consent of the owner and with the intent to damage the enterprise conducted at the animal facility, enter or remain on an animal facility if the person:
(A) [h]ad notice that the entry was forbidden; or
(B) received notice to depart but failed to do so.

Kan. Stat. Ann. § 47-1827.1

"Consent is not effective," for purposes of the Act, if "[i]nduced by force, fraud, deception, duress or threat." Id. § 47-1826(e)(1). The inclusion of fraud, deception, and duress was the result of a 2012 amendment. 2012 Kan. Sess. Laws 962, ch. 125 § 41 (H.B. 2596). These prohibitions are backed with criminal penalties, Kan. Stat. Ann. § 47-1827(g), in addition to the civil remedy, id. § 47-1828.

B. Factual History2

ALDF is a national non-profit organization that seeks in part to expose wrongdoing at animal facilities. App., Vol. II at 149. ALDF conducts undercover operations through investigators who seek employment at animal facilities. Although these investigators do not falsify qualifications, they will not reveal their association with ALDF or their purpose in seeking a job; if asked directly, the investigators will falsely state they were not sent by an animal rights organization.

Once employed by an animal facility, investigators wear hidden cameras, often in violation of posted notices forbidding recording. An investigator may accept a supervisory position through which she might exercise authority over, or temporarily close off a portion of, a facility to record conditions without being caught. Although investigators do not take animals or property or intentionally cause any physical harm to the facility or animals, the investigators’ actions could uncover conditions warranting public officials’ seizing and removing animals. ALDF will seek that result if an investigator uncovers evidence ALDF believes warrants criminal investigation or removal of animals for their welfare.

In addition, ALDF will provide information and recorded images to the media and the public. ALDF specifically...

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