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PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES v. MEESE
July 31, 1990
PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
EDWIN MEESE III, et al., Defendants; PENTHOUSE INTERNATIONAL, LTD., Plaintiff, v. EDWIN MEESE III, et al., Defendants; PLAYGIRL, INC., Plaintiff, v. EDWIN MEESE III, et al., Defendants
John Garrett Penn, United States District Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: PENN
JOHN GARRETT PENN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
These actions, which are consolidated for the purpose of the pending motions, are now before the Court on the motions for summary judgment filed by the defendants. After giving careful consideration to the motions and the opposition thereto, the Court concludes that the motions should be granted and the cases dismissed with prejudice. See Order filed May 29, 1990.
The plaintiffs filed these actions in an effort to have the Court permanently enjoin the defendants, who at the time of filing were members of the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography (Commission), from publicly disseminating a "blacklist" or from taking other action for the purpose of censoring and suppressing the distribution of the magazines published by the plaintiffs. The plaintiffs also seek money damages against the members of the Commission as well as then Attorney General Edwin Meese III, the Public Printer and the Superintendent of Documents.
The background of this litigation and the contentions of the plaintiffs are fully set forth in this Court's Memorandum, in which it granted a preliminary injunction, and will not be restated here. See Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Meese, 639 F. Supp. 581 (D.D.C. 1986). Briefly stated, the Commission held a series of six public hearings in various cities across the country and heard from approximately 200 witnesses. One witness the Commission heard from was a Reverend Donald Wildmon, who was then the Executive Director of the National Federation of Decency. He testified that certain corporations were engaged in the sale of pornography which, in his view, included certain magazines published by the plaintiffs. He also submitted a written statement setting forth his views. See Playboy Motion for Preliminary Injunction Exhibit C. At a public meeting held in January 1986, the Commission discussed whether Wildmon's allegations should be included in the final report of the Commission. Some of the members expressed the view that before addressing the question of whether Wildmon's testimony should be included in the report, the corporations named by Wildmon should be given an opportunity to respond. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Appendix (Appendix) 2B. Eventually, it was decided to send a letter, hereinafter sometimes referred to as the "February letter," to each of those corporations. The letters sent were signed by the Chairman of the Commission and stated:
The Attorney General's Commission on Pornography has held six hearings across the United States during the past seven months on issues related to pornography. During the hearing in Los Angeles, in October 1985, the Commission received testimony alleging that your company is involved in the sale or distribution of pornography. The Commission has determined that it would be appropriate to allow your company an opportunity to respond to the allegations prior to drafting its final report section on identified distributors.
You will find a copy of the relevant testimony enclosed herewith. Please review the allegations and advise the Commission on or before March 3, 1986, if you disagree with the statements enclosed. Failure to respond will necessarily be accepted as an indication of no objections.
Please call Ms. Genny McSweeney, Attorney, at (202) 724-7837 if you have any questions.
Thank you for your assistance.
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