First Amendment Lawsuit

Appeals Court Rules Florida Licensing Law Doesn’t Violate the First Amendment

A federal appeals court ruled that a Florida law that requires individuals to be licensed in order to dispense dietary advice doesn’t violate the First Amendment.

Heather Kokesch Del Castillo, who calls herself a “holistic health coach,” sued the state, claiming that Florida’s Dietetics and Nutrition Practice Act violates her free speech rights to give advice to her clients. Del Castillo was cited by the Florida Department of Health in 2017 for providing nutritional services without a license.

On February 18th, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Del Castillo, saying that the law governs conduct, not speech. The law’s “licensing scheme for dieticians and nutritionists regulated professional conduct and only incidentally burdened Del Castillo’s speech. Because the burden on her speech rights was only incidental, the act’s licensing scheme did not violate her First Amendment free speech rights,” the court wrote.

WFSU     Opinion