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Hudgens v. National Labor Relations Board

    Brief Fact Summary. Striking union members picketed in front of a retail store that was located within a shopping mall. The general manager of the mall threatened the picketers with arrest for trespassing if they would not leave.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. A private shopping mall is not the functional equivalent of a town and, therefore, not a state actor subject to the requirements of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution (Constitution).

    Facts. Butler Shoe Co. warehouse workers went on strike and decided to picket the nine retail locations in Atlanta. One of those stores was located within the North DeKalb Shopping Center, owned by the Petitioner, Hudgens (Petitioner). After the picketers had been marching for about half an hour, the general manager of the shopping center threatened to have the strikers arrested if they did not leave.

    Issue. Can a private shopping mall prohibit picketing of its tenants by members of the public?

    Held. Yes. Because a shopping mall is not the functional equivalent of a town, it may restrict First Amendment rights based solely on the content of the speech.

    Discussion. The majority overrules the holding of Logan Valley and reasserts the holding of Lloyd. A mall may look like and function as a small town would, yet it does not have all of the attributes of a town. So, it is not restricted by the prohibition on content-based speech review that a state actor would be under in the same circumstances.


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