PETA v. Stein

August 11, 2017

The Reporters Committee and 25 media organizations filed an amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit in support of a group of plaintiffs challenging North Carolina's "ag gag" statute. N.C. Gen. Stat. 99A-2 creates a civil cause of action by an employer against (1) an employee who enters a nonpublic area of the employer's premises for a reason other than a bona fide intent of seeking or holding employment or doing business and captures or removes information or records images or sounds; (2) any person who places an unattended camera or surveillance device on the employer's premises; or (3) any person who intentionally directs, assists, or induces an individual to violate the act. The Middle District of North Carolina dismissed plaintiffs' case for lack of standing, and plaintiffs appealed. RCFP's amicus brief argues that information and documentation provided by sources to the press is essential to investigative journalism and that under the broad standing requirements established by the U.S. Supreme Court in First Amendment cases, plaintiffs have established standing based on the Act's chilling effects.