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4th circuit reinstates blogger’s lawsuit

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A federal appeals court has reinstated a North Carolina blogger’s lawsuit claiming state officials violated his free-speech rights.

The North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition last year told Stanley resident Steve Cooksey to take down or modify parts of his website offering dietary advice to fellow diabetics. The board said it had received a complaint that Cooksey was operating as a dietician without a state license.

Cooksey complied, then sued. A judge tossed out the complaint, saying the board never took any formal action or referred the matter for prosecution.

A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond unanimously reversed that ruling June 27. It said Cooksey provided persuasive evidence that the board’s action had a chilling effect on his free-speech rights.

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