The continued growth of social media is forcing the First Amendment to adapt to the digital age. This principle is on display in the case of Novak v. Parma, et al
., N.D. Ohio No. 1:17-CV-2148. This case involves a number of claims made by Anthony Novak against the City of Parma and various law enforcement officials, after he was indicted and prosecuted for a Facebook page parodying the Parma Police Department.
Many of Novak’s claims are based on alleged violation of his First and Fourth Amendment rights. The defendants moved to dismiss, though Judge Polster denied the bulk of their request and is permitting the case to proceed. In doing so, he determined that Novak’s Complaint “alleges facts, which if proven, show that the Officer Defendants abused their police power to punish Plaintiff for exercising his First Amendment rights.”
As this case progresses, the Ohio General Assembly is also considering a new bill titled “The Ohio Citizen Participation Act
,” which will require courts to award attorney’s fees to prevailing defendants in civil lawsuits if they are sued for exercising their First Amendment rights.