The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is resurrecting a lawsuit by animal-rights groups against a North Carolina law that discourages undercover investigations at farms and other workplaces.
A federal judge had dismissed the suit. But the appeals court ruled Tuesday People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals and other groups have alleged a reasonable fear that the law seeks to punish investigations that uncover illegal and unethical conduct. North Carolina is one of about a half-dozen states with laws targeting surreptitious recordings in agricultural settings. Federal courts have struck down so-called "ag-gag" laws in Utah and Idaho in the past year as violations of free speech.