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Høeg v. Newsom

CASE: Tracy Høeg, M.D., et al. v. Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, in his official capacity, et al.

STATUS: Active

NCLA ROLE: Counsel

COURTS HEARD IN: E.D. Cal.

ORIGINAL COURT: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

DECIDING COURT: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California

OPENED: November 2, 2022

AGENCIES: California Governor

FOCUS AREAS:

Due Process Violations

The due process of law guarantees a right to be held to account only through the processes of an impartial court—something administrative tribunals violate every day.

Administrative Speech Controls

The Administrative State tries to squelch speech, especially through licensing, speech bans, and speech mandates. Licensing requires one to get the government’s permission prior to speaking. Nothing was more clearly forbidden by the First Amendment than prior restraints on speech, but such controls are now commonplace.

NCLA represents several physicians licensed by the Medical Board of California (MBC), most of whom treat patients on a regular basis. Drs. Tracy Høeg, Ram Duriseti, Aaron Kheriaty, Pete Mazolewski, and Azadeh Khatibi alleged that Assembly Bill (AB) 2098, signed into law on September 30, 2022, violated their First Amendment rights to free speech and their Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process of law. The law interfered with the ability of doctors and their patients to freely communicate, and had been used as a weapon to intimidate and punish doctors who dissent from mainstream views. Several Plaintiffs experienced threats from other doctors and individuals on social media to use AB 2098 to have their licenses taken away, an obvious attempt to suppress the those Plaintiffs’ speech. They were put between a rock and a hard place, fearing repercussions for acting in their patients’ best interests by honestly giving them the information they believe their patients need to make informed care decisions.

U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals precedents highly protect speech uttered in the context of the doctor-patient relationship, recognizing a state interest in free and open communication between doctors and patients, and the First Amendment protects expression of majority and minority views alike. AB 2098 would have deprived Plaintiffs’ patients of their First Amendment rights to receive advice and hear treatment options unfettered by professional discipline fears.

On October 1, 2023, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation repealing AB 2098, a major victory for NCLA.

Dr. Azadeh Khatibi, Plaintiff

Jenin Younes
Litigation Counsel
John J. Vecchione
Senior Litigation Counsel
Greg Dolin
Senior Litigation Counsel
Casey Norman
Litigation Counsel
NCLA FILINGS

Memorandum and Order Re: Motions to Dismiss

April 2, 2024 | Read More

Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss

February 29, 2024 | Read More

Plaintiffs’ Memorandum of Law in Support of Their Position that This Case Is Not Moot

November 27, 2023 | Read More

Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

September 29, 2023 | Read More

Memorandum in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

September 29, 2023 | Read More

PRESS RELEASES

In NCLA Victory, Gov. Newsom Repeals California Law Censoring Doctors’ Covid-19 Medical Advice

October 2, 2023 | Read More

Watch: A Physician with a Gag Order Is Not a Physician You Can Trust, NCLA Releases Case Video Challenging California’s AB 2098

June 8, 2023 | Read More

California Judge Grants Injunction to NCLA Clients, Halts Implementation of Law Censoring Doctors

January 25, 2023 | Read More

California Doctors Sue Gov. Newsom and Calif. Medical Board over New Law Censoring Medical Advice

November 2, 2022

IN THE MEDIA

California’s COVID Misinformation Law Is Entangled in Lawsuits, Conflicting Rulings

Los Angels Times

May 12, 2023

Doctors Threatened for COVID-19 Views Gear Up for Possible SCOTUS Fight over California Misinformation Law

Fox News

May 12, 2023

Doctors Without Voices?

California Globe

May 12, 2023

Third Lawsuit Filed against California Law That Restricts Doctors’ COVID Advice to Patients

The Washington Times

February 7, 2023

California’s Perilous Bid to Censor Your Doctor’s Advice

New York Post

February 7, 2023

CASE HIGHLIGHTS

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