Saturday, December 7, 2013

Posadas de Puerto Rico Associates v. Tourism Co. of Puerto Rico case brief

Posadas de Puerto Rico Associates v. Tourism Co. of Puerto Rico case brief summary
478 U.S. 328 (1986)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant sought review of an order from the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico dismissing its appeal of a judgment that adopted narrowing construction of the Games of Chance Act of 1948, P.R. Laws Ann. Title 15, § 71 (1972), and of associated regulations restricting casino advertising and that declared a statute and regulations facially constitutional.

CASE FACTS
Appellant, a hotel and casino company, sued appellee, which enforced regulations regarding the Games of Chance Act of 1948, P.R. Laws Ann. Title 15, § 71 (1972), seeking a declaratory judgment that the statute and regulations impermissibly suppressed commercial speech in violation of U.S. Constitutional Amendment I and equal protection and due process guarantees. The trial court, adopting a narrowing construction, declared the statute and regulations constitutional as narrowed. The appellate court dismissed an appeal, finding it did not present a substantial constitutional question.

DISCUSSION
  • On appeal, the Court held it had jurisdiction and was required to abide by the trial court's narrowing construction. 
  • Commercial speech was entitled to U.S. Constitutional Amendment I protection where it concerned lawful activity and was not misleading. Under Central Hudson, the speech restrictions were permissible because they directly advanced a substantial government interest and were no more extensive than necessary. 
  • Judgment upholding the constitutionality was affirmed.
CONCLUSION
The Court affirmed the dismissal of the appeal where the Court had jurisdiction and where restrictions on commercial speech imposed by the challenged statute and regulations, as narrowly construed by the trial court, directly advanced a substantial government interest and were no more extensive than necessary.

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