- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 4, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A judge has dismissed a California real estate broker’s lawsuit over a Nebraska law requiring licensing to market Nebraska homes online.

Leslie Young’s lawsuit said that advertising “for sale by owner” homes online was constitutionally protected speech. The Lincoln Journal Star reports (https://bit.ly/1LLlYOZ ) that Senior U.S. District Judge Joseph Bataillon (buh-TAL’-yuhn) disagreed in a ruling issued last week, saying the issue was regulation of conduct, not regulation of free speech because he found that Young had acted as an unlicensed broker.

“The court believes it is questionable whether the plaintiff’s speech is even protected speech,” Batallion wrote in an order.

Young’s Elist.me website features advertisements for properties listed on ForSaleByOwner.com. Young filed the lawsuit after the Nebraska Real Estate Commission warned that if she did not stop publishing Nebraska listings on her website, then she would face civil fines of $1,000 per day. Young claimed she merely publishes information about the listings as a form of advertisement, and doesn’t get a sales commission or provide other services to homeowners.

But Nebraska’s lawyers say in filings that she charges a fee and provides sellers with a CD containing information and web links.

Young’s attorney, Anastasia Boden of the Pacific Legal Foundation, wrote in an email to the paper that “States can’t force people to get permission before speaking by classifying that speech as the practice of some profession.”

Boden did not say if Young intends to appeal the decision.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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