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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Maine Federal Court Finds Maine Data Collection Law Likely Violates First Amendment

State Issues

On September 9, the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine held that a recently passed Maine Act requiring parental consent for the collection of health-related information from a minor is likely overbroad and thus could violate the First Amendment. Maine Independent Colleges Ass’n v. Baldacci, No. CV-09-396 (D. Me. Sept. 9, 2009). As reported in InfoBytes, Aug. 7, 2009, the Act makes it an illegal and unfair trade practice for a person or company “to knowingly collect or receive health-related information or personal information for marketing purposes from a minor without first obtaining verifiable parental consent of that minor’s parent or legal guardian.” On August 26, four plaintiffs, including the Maine Independent Colleges Association, challenged the constitutionality of the law, scheduled to take effect on September 12, 2009. On September 9, the court issued a stipulated order of dismissal by both parties. According to the dismissal order, the Maine Attorney General “has committed not to enforce” the Act, and the Maine legislature will reconsider the statute. The dismissal order further notes that the private right of action availed under the Act “could suffer from the same constitutional infirmities.”