FSC Expects Action Before 2257 Injunction Expires

Matt O'Conner
CANOGA PARK, Calif. — Technically, Sept. 1 is the last day Free Speech Coalition members are guaranteed protection against enforcement of re-issued 2257 federal record-keeping and labeling requirements under an agreement between the FSC and the Justice Department.

But FSC Communications Director Tom Hymes told XBiz there’s no cause for alarm.

“Yes, the agreement would expire [on Sept. 1], but that’s not going to happen because the judge will extend the stipulation [agreement] if necessary, and that probably won’t be necessary because we still expect a decision by then,” Hymes said.

The amended regulations went into effect June 23, but a temporary restraining order barring Justice from prosecuting FSC members under 2257 was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Walker D. Miller after the FSC and Justice officials struck an 11th hour deal on the eve of the law’s enforcement.

Under the deal, authorities won’t conduct any inspections or pursue any claims to FSC members “until no later than 30 days after the date of the hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction,” which was held on Aug. 2.

If the court fails to make a decision by that date and doesn’t grant an extension on the order, Justice would be free to pursue enforcement. But Hymes told XBiz that such a scenario is highly unlikely.

“A request will be made [by FSC lawyers] to the judge to extend the stipulation, and we have every expectation that he will,” Hymes said. “There’s no reason to worry.”

In June, Lawyers from three law firms — Denver-based Schwartz & Goldberg’ Sirkin, Pinales & Schwartz of Cincinnati, Ohio; and Buffalo, N.Y.-based law firm Lipsitz, Green, Fahringer, Roll, Salisbury & Cambria — petitioned the court on behalf of the FSC to overturn the amended regulations on the grounds that they are overly burdensome and would cause irreparable harm to the industry.

The court is currently weighing the merits of those arguments and is expected to make its decision or extend the order against enforcement by Thursday. In the meantime, the court remains silent on the issue and there is no indication which way it is leaning.