UC Berkeley Obtains Settlement with Conservative Groups in Free Speech Case

Munger, Tolles & Olson represented the University of California in obtaining a favorable settlement on Dec. 3, 2018 to end a First Amendment lawsuit filed by conservative organizations alleging unlawful discrimination against conservative speech at UC Berkeley.

The settlement followed a September 2017 ruling granting the university’s motion to dismiss with leave to amend and an April 2018 ruling that most of the case should be dismissed, even after the amendment. In the April 2018 decision, Judge Maxine M. Chesney of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that UC Berkeley’s policy on student-sponsored speech events was constitutional. Judge Chesney allowed only certain limited claims to go forward. 

In the settlement, the plaintiffs have agreed to abandon those claims, and UC Berkeley has agreed to make minor changes to the student event policy and pay a portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees. UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof hailed this result as “all but indistinguishable from what a courtroom victory would have looked like” for the University.

Litigators Bryan H. Heckenlively and Elizabeth A. Kim represented the University in the matter.