Class action suit filed over distribution of free publication
WASHINGTON–King County Superior Court Judge Jim Bates in late November allowed a Seattle resident to file a class action suit to prohibit The Seattle Times from leaving a free entertainment publication on the doorstep of homes that have signs requesting no flyers.
Albert Velarde, who filed the suit, is a lawyer who successfully got a court to enjoin a pizza store from leaving flyers at his home in 1992, according to the Associated Press.
Jessica Goldman, the attorney representing the newspaper, said the entertainment publication, Cover Story, contains feature articles on the entertainment industry, movie listings and advertising.
Velarde’s suit consists of two classes, according to Goldman. The first is made up of King County residents who have posted signs stating “No Flyers.” The other class is defined as residents who have called the paper to request that the publication not be left on their doorsteps.
Goldman said the problem with the suit is that it does not allow homeowners to decide whether Cover Story is a flyer that they do not want delivered.
“We believe it infringes upon the First Amendment rights of the Times and of citizens,” Goldman said. “Obviously the class who have called or written to the paper don’t want the publication. But when you put up a sign, you may not want to hear from Pizza Hut, but it’s not inherent that you don’t want Cover Story. Velarde and the court are making that decision for the individuals.” (Velarde v. Seattle Times Co. & Times Distribution, Inc.; Media Counsel: Jessica Goldman, Seattle)