Beer Label a Hate Crime

Overlawyered reports -

The Lost Coast Brewery in Humboldt, Calif. says it will take off the shelves its Indica India Pale Ale, whose label currently depicts the Indian elephant-god Ganesh “holding a beer in one of his four hands, and another in his trunk”. Although brewery co-owner Barbara Groom said her Hindu friends don’t mind the label, a California man named Brij Dhir sued the brewery, along with other defendants such as the Safeway supermarket chain, claiming that it is offensive and intimidates Hindus from practicing their religion. “Dhir seeks at least $25,000 and his lawsuit mentions that $1 billion would be appropriate to compensate Hindus around the world.” “It’s a hate crime”, Dhir told the Contra Costa Times.

Thanks to Ennis for the pict pointer!

87 thoughts on “Beer Label a Hate Crime

  1. Ganesh Beer is not a marketing blunder. It is not “insensitive”.

    Any incoherent IDIOT who thinks so, feel free to crap your pants over these words.

    The lawsuit is nothing but an attempt at extortion. The ‘complainant’ deserves to be taken out and kneecapped.

    People have been ‘selling and corporatizing’ religion since religion began. Always been that way, always gonna be. Deal with it.

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Vote with your feet, STFU.

  2. people out there who think this has been ‘cool’ are either too dumbassed to take any action, or either too much of a loser. If you think its too much trouble to uphold your own religion, even if you think it shouldnt be on the ‘pedestal’, then you really need to think things over. Religion is more than fanatism, understand that, and you will understand why Christians wont take a Jesus on a fuckin chuddi, so dont talk about bunching chuddis, the christians will be doing that when they find jesus on our crotches.

  3. We must pray for their forgiveness by committing this offense and also for also for the detrimental act to have been committed. Due to Hindu Tolerance an apology and wthdrawl would suffice.

    Ganpatti Dada ki Jai!!

  4. Having traveled through India and the rest of Asia, I can say that those nations trample all over Western symbols and religions. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t matter in the other direction either.

    All this hoopla is probably just repressed anger about a history of colonialism and Westernization. Those were legitimate grievances 50 years ago, but not anymore. Guys, grow up.

    It’s probably also repressed fear about Indian immigrants losing their identity in the US and adapting culturally. Well, face it: you (or your ancestors) chose to move to a materialistic culture; deal with it.

  5. Dear John, I personally had no choice when my ancestors got on the ships to come to South Africa (I know it’s not the same as ‘materialistic’ US)and work as indentured labourers, but having travelled abroad to both the West and East (incl. India), I kiss the ground everytime I return because although I love India and everything that comes with being Indian, I love and appreciate more that I’m Indian in South Africa – We totally rock! I don’t think this issue is different for Indians from different countries, do you? Basically I just don’t like people disrespecting me or my beliefs. I do find the use of Ganesh on beer extremely distasteful only because I love and respect my culture and tradition as I know it. No, I don’t practice like other Hindus, I drink, smoke the occassional ‘Durban Poison’ and do a whole host of things my parents and in-laws would just die if they knew about. My friends eat beef and pork and they’re my friends nevertheless, it’s a question of tolerance and understanding. I try to be tolerant and respect other’s beliefs in the hope that they would afford me the same courtesy. I thought that was a part of what being Hindu was all about. But in this day and age that is way too much to ask for I guess. I think that we are overthinking this entire issue. The reason we all have so much to say about Ganesha on ‘anything’, in my opinion, is that apart from some of us considering it a sacred symbol, it’s also that we’re already an ‘abused’ minority and if we don’t speak up then we just continue to allow for people to take advantage of us and our beliefs. There is a saying, maybe someone could help me with: Bad things will continue to happen if good men say nothing? I know it’s not God on the damn bottle, it’s just a picture that I hold sacred and associate with my faith and spirituality so excuse me if I don’t like associating it with alcohol, toilet-seats, g-strings etc. Maybe now they can take the aum sign of the ecstacy tablets and Krishna of the acid stamps…

  6. “it’s just a picture that I hold sacred and associate with my faith and spirituality so excuse me if I don’t like associating it with alcohol”

    Then don’t look at the bottle or drink the alcohol then you shouldn’t have any problem with the association.

  7. I would think that it would not be inappropriate to call it a hate crime if this beer product was on shelves for 5 years despite protests issued by the residents of the area. When someone sports a Nazi -outfit, why is it considered insensitive? Because it is a symbol, a reminder of the hate ideology used to persecute Jews and make their lives miserable. So symbols do matter. If this is a free world, then why shouldn’t those who find it offensive not voice it? For all those who are ‘cool’ with it, it may not matter as much, if at all, to you but fact is this is a diety revered by millions. Is it too much to ask to mind the sensibilities of those who worship and associate this diety with their religious beliefs?
    Humour is one thing but its manifestations in the form of these beer bottles is another.

  8. Oh My God, i really can’t believe the lack of concern that so called ‘open-minded’ and ‘modern’ hindus on this forum have been displaying.(except a few more perceptive ones-manish vij etc) U guys r talkin abt freedom of expression and all that shit, but i find the comparison between the jewish beer and the indica one, quite inaccurate if anything. alcohol is not something prohibited by judaism, whereas it is by hinduism- hence offensive to have a hindu deity on the beer label.

    For those who reckon that Hindus are overreacting to the whole thing… whatever man. I’d like to see catholics take a packet of condoms with a picture of virgin mary on it lightly, or muslims, pork chops with their religious symbol… it’s offensive for god’s sake!

    you may not as a hindu find the association here as strong as the examples that i just gave. But i’d say that this just re-affirms the fact that hindus are becoming much less educated when it comes to knowing about their religion. i

    I totally agree with Vibhushan. u might not be jewish, but sporting a nazi symbol would be considered inappropriate anywhere in Europe or the western world. it’;s even illegal in many european countries, cos it offends the sentiments of not only jews, but also the general public. we’re sensitive here, but we can’t understand that someone would be offended by use of religious symbols on…blah blah…all the products mentioned before.

    i mean if we were to take Zender’s attitude

    If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Vote with your feet, STFU.

    We really shouldn’t be concerned about racist/nazi symbols…just avoid looking at them.

    and for those pseudo secular pricks out there, who would brand people like me fanatic Rss supporters or whatever… I was born and brought up in scandinavia, didn’t even know what religion i belonged to until a few years back and had never met an indian until i visited india when i was like fourteen. This stuff is just basic human empathy man

  9. i find the comparison between the jewish beer and the indica one, quite inaccurate if anything. alcohol is not something prohibited by judaism, whereas it is by hinduism- hence offensive to have a hindu deity on the beer label.

    That may be the crux of the issue, and not an easy one for an American with friends of Hindu descent to understand, because most Hindu-esque Indian-Americans drink alcohol without reservation. In the US, the Hindu proscription of alcohol is little-known. Heck, if you judged from the behavior of some of my assimilated Jewish friends and family, you might not know that pork isn’t kosher.

    So I considered, instead of He-Brew beer, what if someone made Traif ™ brand fried pork rinds? Using the same hebrew-styled font, maybe with a cartoon Chasid with a wink and a wicked grin? That would be both hilarious AND make even me a little uncomfortable. Indeed, many secular Jews would find that offensive, even as they support He-Brew beer.

    Pictures of Jesus on condoms wouldn’t be that offensive, because not all Christian sects are anti-sex. Catholics, however, could easily be provoked to sue over condoms with a picture of the pope on the wrapper. I’d buy a case before they were all recalled.

    This beer label case fascinates me, because it’s on the cutting edge of what is and isn’t offensive/acceptable in the mainstream.

  10. May I remind you that:

    a) There is nothing sacreligious about Hindu gods drinking beer OR about using Hindu gods for commercial enterprise. There are NO Hindu proscriptions on alcohol.

    b) Taking even a modestly literal perspective on the scriptures, Ganesha would more than likely have soma in hand on an average weekend.

    It is entirely one’s right to be offended by the advertisement, but please don’t use a false sense of religious indignation to justify it.

  11. Also, do we have to use the Christian right as a justification for religious overreaction. Just because they do it, does not mean we do

  12. Since when do getting intoxicated became anti-Hindu. Few examples of revelry are: Holi, and go to temples in Varanasi and Nepal, you will see how many priests are stoned. Puritanism is not a trait of Hinduism.

    Artistic freedom is very important unless a symbol with dark past is used (like, a nazi symbol).

  13. I’m confused – I thought there was a Hindu proscription against booze. If there isn’t, then color me outraged over the extreme offense some Hindus took to the Ganesh beer label. A proscription against alcohol is the only thing I could latch onto to help me understand the offense.

    Just because some intoxicants are “kosher” (what’s the Hindu equivalent for that word?) doesn’t mean booze is. I mean, observant Jews eat meat, just not pork or bottom-feeders. Dietary laws are very particular and seemingly arbitrary (in spite of their once-reasonable origins) in all religions.

  14. Nina,

    This will enlighten you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soma

    You go to a place like Rishikesh, quite often sadhus (holy men) are stoned 24/7 (not all of them) to attain clarity. A term like “Shivji ka prasad (offering from Lord Shiva)” is euphemistic term for getting high- I am not at all referring to hippies. Another term is “Bhom Bhom Bhola”. Bhola Nath is also used for Lord Shiva.

    To each its own, that is what I intend to say, nothing more, nothing less. I do not think they are any rules.

    Kush

  15. I’m familiar with the concept of Soma. It’s not alcohol. My understanding is that there’s a proscription against alcohol specifically (i.e. beer) and not intoxicants generally. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  16. PS: I am not preaching anything. All I wanted to say is “artistic freedom” is one of the most pillars of progress.

    From http://www.sortingitout.org.uk/world.htm

    ” Alcohol came to India through the pre-Aryans and Dravidians. Their use of alcohol is mentioned in Hindu scripture. Alcohol is tolerated in Hindu society, but only in moderation. Many states in India are dry and alcohol cannot be bought. Tobacco is occasionally smoked but generally chewed.”

  17. Moderate-to-conservative Hindus definitely look upon drinking alcohol as sinful, though they’re more tolerant of bhang. Whether it’s in the scriptures I’d have to Google. How PoMo.

  18. Just because various proscriptions are not uniformly followed by Hindus is not reason enough to suggest that Hinduism is so fluid that it lacks rules of any sort. Traditional Hindus (mostly Brahmins) live their lives according to detailed dietary and hygiene rules, one of which is a clear proscription on alcohol. Are they all victims of some mass misunderstanding of their own religion?

    Actually the specific proscription is against intoxicants. So yes, while sadhus imbibe, they claim (whether or not it makes sense) that they imbibe the intoxicant, the intoxicant doesn’t imbibe them. In other words, it’s a little odd to say “there are no rules” when the underlying rule is pretty clear – don’t get intoxicated.

  19. Nina, to give a highly condensed answer – hindu scriptures discuss three types of human nature and correponding foods (among other things) enjoyed by each of the types. The three types correspond to the pure, passionate and the dull and dark natures. Humans who have a dull/dark nature prefer foods that are stale (fermented), foul-smelling, leftover, tasteless – meat and alcohol could come under this category. Hence it would offensive to associate alcohol with Ganesha, sort of assigning Ganesha a baser nature. Unlike commandments, there is no specific listing (no pork, no alcohol etc) of foods that would be consumed by people of dull nature, only characteristics of such food and the expected behavior in man. Hinduism that way offers guidelines as opposed to unchangeable truths. Every society is supposed to work out their interpretation of the broad guideline in the specific. Another example would be the principle of Ahimsa which really is a philosophy of non-injury, much broader than – don’t kill cows but eat chickens. An example of equivalence to the ten commandments would be the Ten Yamas

    Unfortunately, this can be confusing for non-hindus since some uninformed Indians like to pretend to be hindus and make outrageous claims such as – ‘beef eating is mentioned in the vedas’, ‘i saw statues simulating sex in a hindu temple’, ‘we drink bhaang during holi’, ‘i saw a holy man smoking pot’ – etc. all with the aim of portraying hinduism as some sort of free-style everything-goes religion. Not surprisingly such charlatans are silent on the ten yamas or some of the more harder aspects of discipline in the religion. Quite disgusting specimens. It is as if someone saw wine-drinking and self-flagellation as the chief characteristics of christianity.

  20. I forgot to add, reg. #71 – that there is also the warning in scripture that excessive consumption of food of dull/dark nature (tamasic) leads to development of the baser natures. Hence consumption of such foods needs to be avoided.

  21. Nina,

    Please note that Johnny Walker is typically carved out of any Hindu restriction on alcohol consumption.

  22. In all these years, I have yet to come across a Hindu family that I know of that offers bhang during holi- in India, middle east or Canada.

    I would have thought I had an unusual experience if it wasn’t that my friends from different parts of India have not come across it either.

    So that makes me wonder about ‘being more tolerant towards bhang’. Maybe coz bhang is consumed once in a yr vs alcohol consumption throughout the year- so having it once a yr makes it ‘okay’?

  23. Hi,

    I grew up in India and also in USA. In India, I spent my childhood in Roorkee. Roorkee is perhaps the “highest educated town” in India, since it is a little campus town that is made up of IIT, military sappers (like the The English Patient sikh) and government labs.

    During holi,in Roorkee, almost 20-25 % of sweets used to spiked with bhang. I am talking houses of professors from hailing from all over India and caste – there wasn’t any secret. As kids, we would be told not to eat some of the sweets but we would. I amm not even talking of Agra, etc.

    I really miss Holi. Next year, I will be in India during Holi.

    Kush

  24. I go to India every year for last 5 years as I do research work there. Therefore, I meet a broad cross-section of people. The three things I notice: 1) everyone talks to me in English and I reply back in Hindi (unless I am in South India where folks talk to me in Hindi and I reply in English), 2) Every third person offers me a drink and I have to say no (I hardly drink), and 3) Every second person offers me a tobacco to chew (with pan or without), I have to say no again (I canÂ’t stand). Go check yourself on the streets in Roorkee, Haridwar, Delhi, Hyderabad.

    As somebody would say that I and all my contacts (family, friends, and colleagues) are charlatans. I will repeat thousand times – I am not preaching anything but I take offence to morality police.

  25. this is funny. ganesh was the son of durga and shiva. if that is true then well he is allowed to have beer. no offence to religion as such. shiva was a ganja smoker. and kali(ex durga before the battel) was alchohol. I see no reason why a beer add on their names is offensive. But i do agree using gods names for profit is another thing. and I hate that. the commercialization of god. I mean where is the limit.

  26. you blokes have too much time on your hands to be analysing this. Who cares as long as it is good beer….

  27. Sir or madam, I presume you are responding to my question. I have been told that one should never answer a question with another question. I presume you are defending or explaining the legitimate use of the image on this website. If this is the case, please do so in a direct fashion, not by a question that leaves some inference to the reader.

  28. … the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. [Link]
  29. and altered its status to a symbol of hate targeting Hindus and non Hindus locally B.S. This witchhunt is crazy. It makes me want to drink this beer even more.

    seriously. there are some worse things like this in india (like mahavir tobacco.)

    couldn’t there be better things out there to spend time on?

    also, i’m sure many indian-owned liquor stores would have no problem selling this beer if it made $$$.

  30. Brij Mohan Dhir, J.D., LL.B., LL.M., (SJD Candidate) 3519 Ridgemont Terrace Fremont, CA 94536 Tel & Fax: (510) 792-5312 Plaintiff Pro Per

              SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA
    
       COUNTY OF CONTRA COSTA--UNLIMITED JURISDICTION
    
    
                                Case No.: MSC05-00868 
    

    Brij Mohan Dhir, an individual and) life member of Hindu Society of ) Metropolitan Chicago, a non profit)
    Illinois Corporation; and in )
    Behalf of American and Worldwide ) Hindu Community, ) Memorandum of Points ) and Authorities in
    Plaintiffs ) Support of Brij Mohan
    ) DhirÂ’s Motion for
    V. ) Summary Judgment or In ) the Alternative for
    Lost Coast Brewery, an entity of ) Summary Adjudication unknown form; Wendy Pound, Barbara)
    Groom, Duane Flatmo, an )
    Individuals; Safeway, Inc.; Ms. ) Suzie Owsley, Eureka Police )
    Officer; District Officer, ) Department of Fair Employment and) Housing; Bill Lockyer, California) Attorney General; DOES 1-100, ) Hearing Date: inclusive, ) Time: Defendants ) Dept. __________________________________) Hearing Judge: Date Action Filed: Trial Date: Not Set

    Introduction

    Plaintiff had filed this action for violations of Civil Rights: State and Federal; violations of California Penal Code Section 422.6; Defamation; Infliction of Intentional Emotional Distress, and as prayed in the complaint for reasonable damages based on deterrence policy of State of California. Plaintiff claims that there is no affirmative defense based on undisputed material facts stated in separate statement of undisputed material facts, and Declaration of Brij Mohan Dhir in support of Motion for Summary Judgment or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment as a matter of law based on Memorandum of Point and Authorities in Support of Motion of Summary Judgment or in the Alternative for Summary Adjudication. Statements of Facts

    The following are the undisputed facts:

    “Lost Coast Brewery is owned by Barbara Groom and Wendy Pound at all relevant times; Duane Flatmo designed and Lost Coast Brewery published the undisputed pictures of Lord Ganesh; Lost Coast Brewery, its owners, its staff, and Duane Flatmo knew that Lord Ganesh is Hindu God; Plaintiff is Hindu by birth who resides in California; Assertions “my impression of Ganesha is that he is god of fun and frivolity. Groom told India-West;” and “We like to always have humor in our labels. Said brewery owner Barbara Groom about Flatmo’s interpretation of Ganesh. Our labels represent the relaxed, fun attitudes of the people of Humboldt County. At least, that should be people’s attitudes since we live in the best place on Earth;” Assertions of Duane Flatmo “If Ganesh forgives people, I ask for his forgiveness;” Email Complaints were filed of with America’s and India’s civil authorities when Lost Coast Brewery removed God Ganesha offensive picture from their website with promise to removing the product from market; No civil and criminal actions were taken by Suzie Owsley, and other civil authorities to protect my civil rights or civil rights of American Hindus as provided by State and Federal civil rights, and Constitutions and Treaties; Brier Bush, a General Manager of Lost Coast Brewery apologized for offensive behavior of God Lord Ganesha by email to me, which is not an affirmative defense, especially, by Barbara Groom and Duane Flatmo; World Media had reported this dispute in news papers, and on their websites, and people of world had different comments on those websites.” See, Declaration of Brij Mohan Dhir and Separate Statement of Undisputed Facts.

    Statutory and Case Authorities in Support of Brij Mohan DhirÂ’s Motion for Summary Judgment or in the alternative for Summary Adjudication

    Code of Civil Procedure section 437c provides in pertinent part:

    “(a) Any party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceedings it is contended . . . that there is no defense to the action or proceedings . . . . (c) The Motion for Summary Judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In determining whether the papers show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact, the court shall consider all the evidence set forth in the papers, except that to which objections have been made and sustained by the court and all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence. . . . (f)(1) A party may move for summary adjudication as to . . . one or more affirmative defenses, one or more claims for damages . . . if that party contends that . . . there is no to an affirmative defense thereto or that there is no merit to an affirmative defense as to any cause of action or both . . . . A summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of causes of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages.”

    The primary duty of the court in ruling on Motion for Summary Judgment is to determine whether there are material issues of fact to be tried. Blair v. Pitchess (1971) 5 Cal.3d 358, 284. as stated by the court in DÂ’Amico v. Board of Medical Examiners (1974) 11 Cal.3d 1, 20:

    “[T]he aim of [Summary Judgment] is to discover, through the medium of affidavits, whether the parties possess evidence requiring the weighing procedures of a trial.”

    Where there are no such issues requiring the weighing procedures of trial, summary judgment should be granted to effectively expedite litigation by avoiding unnecessary trials. Barry v. Rogers (1976) 141 Cal.App.3d 340, 342. Further, summary judgment must be granted if the moving party establishes the right to the entry of judgment as a matter of law. Union Bank v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 553, 579; Regents of University of California v. Superior Court (1996) 41 Cal.App.4th 1040, 1044.
    Arguments

    In the above undisputed material facts of this case, the legal issues before this court are whether conduct of designing and publishing the picture of Lord Ganesh thereby causing evils, fears, and moral constrains on Plaintiff and Hindus worldwide by Lost Coast Brewery, Barbara Groom, Duane Flatmo when Lord Ganesha is shown drinking beer in his hand and trunk with right eye big and left eye small, up and down, showing Lord Ganesh threatening, intimidating, and coercive violated the rights protected under the Bane Act because these published pictures of Lord Ganesh are more than speech; and non action of Suzie Owsley including other government officers, which violates section 422.6 of California Code
    Following is the well settled laws of state of California and United States of America on these legal issues of protected civil rights: “The Bane Act provides for liability for interference or attempted interference with an individual’s rights “by threats, intimidation, or coercion.” [Civ. Code, § 52.1, subd. (a)] However, liability may not be based on “Speech alone” unless “the speech itself threatens violence against a specific person or group of persons; and the person or group of persons against whom the threat is directed reasonably fears that, because of the speech, violence will be committed against them or their property and that the person threatening violence had the apparent ability to carry out the threat.” [Civ. Code, § 52.1, subd. (j)] The best short summary of the conduct prohibited by the Bane Act is found in Doe By and Through Doe v. Petaluma City School Dist., 830 F. Supp. 1560, 1582, 85 Ed. Law Rep. 1169, 64 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) ¶43082 (N.D. Cal. 1993): “plaintiff must prove that the defendant(s) interfered (or attempted to interfere) with her rights by threats, intimidations, or coercion (and that defendant(s) did so other than by speech alone, unless the speech itself threatened violence).” The Bane Act does not define any of the four operative words “interferes,” threats,” “intimidation” or “coercion.” The word “interferes” as used in the Bane Act (i.e., “interferes Â… with Â… rights” [Civ. Code, § 52.1, subd. (a)] means “violates” and has been explicitly or implicitly so construed by the Bane Act case law. [See, e.g., Jones v. Kmart Corp., 17 Cal. 4th 329, 338, 70 Cal. Rptr. 2d 844, 949 P.2d 941 (1998) (equates "interfere" with "violate"); City of Simi Valley v. Superior Court, 111 Cal. App. 4th 1077, 4 Cal. Rptr. 3d 468, 474 (2d Dist. 2003) (the Bane Act applies to a "violation" of a right); Reynolds v. County of San Diego, 84 F.3d 1162, 1170 (9th Cir. 1996) (overruled on other grounds by, Acri v. Varian Associates, Inc., 114 F.3d 999, 71 Empl. Prac. Dec. (CCH) ¶44799 (9th Cir. 1997)) (same)] The essence of a Bane Act claim is that the defendant, by the specified improper means (i.e., “threats, intimidation or coercion”), tried to or did prevent the plaintiff from doing something she had the right to do under the law or to force the plaintiff to do something that she was not required to do under the law. [Jones, 17 Cal. 4th at 334 (the Bane Act requires "an attempted or completed act of interference with a legal right"); see also Gatto v. County of Sonoma, 98 Cal. App. 4th 744, 120 Cal. Rptr. 2d 550 (1st Dist. 2002) (successful Bane Act claim where the plaintiff was ejected from a county fair for wearing clothes that bore an insignia which he had the right to display)] The words “threats,” “intimidation” and “coercion” are far more problematic. None of these words have been construed for purposes of the Bane Act and all three have enough elasticity to raise serious questions as to the scope of the conduct prohibited by the Bane Act. In a case construing Pen. Code, §§ 422.6 and 422.7, two of the hate crime statutes that were enacted as part of the same legislation that enacted the Bane Act, the California Supreme Court stated that a “threat” is “an expression of intent to inflict evil, injury, or damage on another.” [In re M.S., 10 Cal. 4th 698, 710, 42 Cal. Rptr. 2d 355, 896 P.2d 1365 (1995), quoting U.S. v. Orozco-Santillan, 903 F.2d 1262, 1265 (9th Cir. 1990). There is no definitive definition of the word "intimidation" in California law. In common parlance, "intimidation" means "to make timid or fearful." [Ex parte Bell, 19 Cal. 2d 488, 526, 122 P.2d 22 (1942); see Suzuki Motor Co. v. Superior Court, 200 Cal. App. 3d 1476, 1481, 249 Cal. Rptr. 376 (4th Dist. 1988) ("It is a well-recognized canon of statutory interpretation that words in a statute Â… are to be given their ordinary and common meaning")] Nor is there a definitive definition of the word “coercion” in California law. The ordinary meaning of “coercion” is “the application to another of such force, either physical or moral, to constrain him to do against his will something he would not otherwise have done.” [Ex parte Bell, 19 Cal. 2d 488, 526, 122 P.2d 22 (1942)] Case law construing the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act of 1979, on which the Bane Act is modeled, have defined “threat,” “intimidation” and “coercion” consistently with the foregoing definitions. [Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Inc. v. Blake, 417 Mass. 467, 473-74, 631 N.E.2d 985 (1994) ("threat" is "the intentional exertion of pressure to make another fearful or apprehensive of injury or harm;" "intimidation" is "putting in fear for the purpose of compelling or deterring conduct;" and "coercion" is "the application to another of such force, either physical or moral, as to constrain him to do against his will something he would not otherwise have done")] Although the foregoing definitions of “threat,” “intimidation” and “coercion” do not require violence, two cases have held that a Bane Act plaintiff must prove that her rights were interfered with by violence or threat of violence. [Cabesuela v. Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 68 Cal. App. 4th 101, 111, 80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 60, 14 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1105, 137 Lab. Cas. (CCH) ¶58583 (6th Dist. 1998); Rabkin v. Dean, 856 F. Supp. 543, 548 (N.D. Cal. 1994)] There are strong arguments that both cases are incorrect. In holding that “to state a cause of action under § 52.1 there must first be violence or intimidation by threat of violence,” Cabesuela relied on Boccato v. City of Hermosa Beach, 29 Cal. App. 4th 1797, 1809, 35 Cal. Rptr. 2d 282 (2d Dist. 1994) for the proposition that the Bane Act “must be read in conjunction with” the Ralph Act. Based solely on Boccato, which it assumed to be good law, the court in Cabesuela imported the Ralph Act’s requirement of “violence or intimidation by threat of violence” into the Bane Act. [Cabesuela v. Browning-Ferris Industries of California, Inc., 68 Cal. App. 4th 101, 111, 80 Cal. Rptr. 2d 60, 14 I.E.R. Cas. (BNA) 1105, 137 Lab. Cas. (CCH) ¶58583 (6th Dist. 1998)] However, as discussed in 3:17 supra,Boccato was legislatively overruled on this point by the 2000 amendment to the Bane Act. Thus, the importation of the Ralph Act language into the Bane Act by the Cabesuela court is contrary to the Bane Act in its current form. (Civ. Code, § 52.1, subd. (g) (Bane Act is independent from the Ralph Act).) The analysis in Rabkin requiring proof of violence or threat of violence is contained in a single sentence: “Although no California court has interpreted § 52.1, subd. (b), the context of this section makes it clear that the statute is meant to protect against violence or the threat of violence.” (Rabkin, supra.) The only context that the Rabkin court cited is the “speech alone” clause of subdivision (j).Rabkin does not mention, much less discuss, any of the three grounds—”threats, intimidation or coercion”—to violate the Bane Act. While the court’s sole reliance on the speech alone clause of § 52.1, subd. (j) may have made sense in the context of that case where the plaintiff, an elected official, alleged that the City of Berkeley violated her rights by the votes of its city council denying her pay raises, the speech alone clause is not a basis to construe the Bane Act to require violence or threat of violence. By its express terms, the speech alone clause only requires a threat of violence when speech “alone” is the basis for a Bane Act claim. Consequently, whenever a Bane Act defendant engaged in conduct other than “speech alone,” the speech alone clause is inapplicable to that conduct. In Buster v. George W. Moore, Inc., 438 Mass. 635, 644-48, 783 N.E.2d 399 (2003) the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts addressed the issue of whether “economic coercion,” without any violence or physical injury, was sufficient to violate the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act of 1979, which like the Bane Act, can be violated by “coercion.” After reviewing the history, language and purpose of the Massachusetts statute, the court concluded that “in certain circumstances, economic coercion, standing alone, may be actionable.” [Buster v. George W. Moore, Inc., 438 Mass. 635, 648, 783 N.E.2d 399 (2003)] The court compared the language of the statute (i.e. “threat, intimidation or coercion”) with the language of another Massachusetts statute which was explicitly limited to violence or threat of violence (i.e. “force or threat of force”) and reasoned that “Had the Legislature wished to confine the remedial reach of the” statute “to actual or threatened physical acts, it knew how to do so.” [Buster v. George W. Moore, Inc., 438 Mass. 635, 647-648, 783 N.E.2d 399 (2003)] The reasoning of Buster applies to the Bane Act. Both statutes share the same language of interference by threats, intimidation or coercion. Moreover, just as the Buster court contrasted the language of the Massachusetts statute with another statute which was explicitly limited to violence or threat of violence, the language of the Bane Act (i.e. “threats, intimidation, or coercion”) is in contrast to the language of the Ralph Act (i.e. “violence, or intimidation by threat of violence”) which is explicitly limited to violence or threat of violence. Further, two other provisions of the Bane Act support the view that the Bane Act is not limited to violence or threat of violence. First, subdivision (f) prohibits injunctive relief under the Bane Act if the injunctive relief would be prohibited by Code of Civil Procedure, § 527.3. Section 527.3 prohibits injunctive relief concerning a nonviolent labor dispute. If the Bane Act could be violated only by conduct that was violent or threatened violence, then the exemption for a nonviolent labor dispute in subdivision (f) would be superfluous. Second, subdivision (j) provides that “Speech alone” does not violate the Bane Act unless the “speech itself threatens violence.” As with subdivision (f), if the Bane Act could be violated only by violence or threatened violence, then subdivision (j) would be superfluous. To give meaning to these two subdivisions, it is necessary to interpret the phrase “threats, intimidation, or coercion” as encompassing some conduct other than violence or threat of violence. [See Department of Corrections v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., 109 Cal. App. 4th 1720, 1 Cal. Rptr. 3d 348, 68 Cal. Comp. Cas. (MB) 853 (4th Dist. 2003), Summarized in, 5 WCAB Rptr. 10,219, 2003 WL 21881076 (Cal. App. 4th Dist. 2003), quoting Pham v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., 78 Cal. App. 4th 626, 93 Cal. Rptr. 2d 115, 139 Cal. Comp. Cas. (MB) 139 (1st Dist. 2000), Summarized in, 2 WCAB Rptr. 10,100, 2000 WL 33412376 (Cal. App. 1st Dist. 2000) ("It is a cardinal rule of statutory construction that in attempting to ascertain the legislative intention, effect should be given Â… to every word and clause, thereby leaving no part of the provision useless or deprived of meaning Â… it is our responsibility to construe the relevant subdivisions Â… so that effect is given to all provisions, leaving no part superfluous or inoperative, void or insignificant and to make certain that one subdivision will not destroy another.")] A Ninth Circuit case decided under 42 U.S.C.A. § 3617, the section of the federal Fair Housing Act making it “unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere” with the exercise of any of the rights of that statute, provides further support that the Bane Act can be violated by conduct other than violence or threat of violence can violate the Bane Act. [Walker v. City of Lakewood, 272 F.3d 1114, 1128-1129 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1017, 122 S. Ct. 1607, 152 L. Ed. 2d 621 (2002)] Walker held that § 3617 “does not require a showing of force or violence for coercion, interference, intimidation, or threats to give rise to liability.” [Walker v. City of Lakewood, 272 F.3d 1114, 1128 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1017, 122 S. Ct. 1607, 152 L. Ed. 2d 621 (2002)] The court compared the language of § 3617 with the language of 42 U.S.C.A. § 3631, the section of the federal Fair Housing Act imposing criminal liability for injury, intimidation or interference with fair housing rights “by force or threat of force.” The comparison in the language of the two statutes persuaded the Ninth Circuit that “When Congress intended to require proof” of violence or threatened violence, “it did so.” (Id.) The court also looked at the “plain meaning” of the terms “coercion,” “threat” and “intimidation” to support its holding that none of those terms necessarily required violence or threatened violence. [Walker v. City of Lakewood, 272 F.3d 1114, 1128-1129 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 1017, 122 S. Ct. 1607, 152 L. Ed. 2d 621 (2002)] Gov. Code, § 12955.7, which is modeled after § 3617, also makes it “unlawful to coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with” the exercise of fair housing rights. Although no reported California appellate decision has construed § 12955.7, a federal district court, relying on case law under § 3617, held that harassing conduct that did not involve any violence or threatened violence was sufficient to violate § 12955.7. [Egan v. Schmock, 93 F. Supp. 2d 1090, 1091-94 (N.D. Cal. 2000); see also Walker, 272 F.3d 1114, 1125 and 1131, n.8 (the "same standards" likely apply to a § 12955.7 claim as apply to a § 3617 claim)] If “threats, intimidation, and coercion” include conduct—but not “speech alone”—other than violence or threat of violence, the parameters of such prohibited conduct will need to be delineated. No reported Bane Act decision provides any assistance on this issue. Absent further amendment to the Bane Act, the boundaries between actionable and nonactionable conduct will have to be determined in future cases presenting specific factual circumstances. [See Buster v. George W. Moore, Inc., 438 Mass. 635, 649, 783 N.E.2d 399 (2003) ("we must await subsequent cases to determine more exactly the actionable bounds of" the word coercion)] However, some guidance is available in cases construing the Massachusetts statute and the federal Fair Housing Act. In Buster the Massachusetts court held that there is no actionable “coercion” where the defendant lawfully exercised his rights under a contract, even if the plaintiff is harmed in the process. [Buster v. George W. Moore, Inc., 438 Mass. 635, 648-649, 783 N.E.2d 399 (2003)] On the other hand, as indicated by two Ninth Circuit cases and a district court decision, it is actionable misconduct under § 3617 of the federal Fair Housing Act to refuse to pay monies owed, terminate a contract, fire employees or engage in a campaign of harassment such as committing acts of vandalism for the purpose of preventing another from exercising her fair housing rights. (Walker v. City of Lakewood, 272 F.3d 1114 (9th Cir. 2001); Smith v. Stechel, 510 F.2d 1162 (9th Cir. 1975); Egan, supra.) Regardless of how the terms are construed for purposes of the Bane Act, it is likely that the courts will use a “reasonable person” standard to determine whether particular conduct or language constitutes a threat, intimidation or coercion. [See Winarto v. Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc., 274 F.3d 1276, 1289-90, 87 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1059 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. dismissed, 537 U.S. 1098, 123 S. Ct. 816, 154 L. Ed. 2d 766 (2003) (Under the Ralph Act "The test is 'would a reasonable person, standing in the shoes of the plaintiff, have been intimidated by the actions of the defendant and have perceived a threat of violence?," quoting Hitchens & Links, § 3:4.] When the plaintiff is a woman, it is likely that the “reasonable woman” standard first enunciated in sexual harassment cases will be applied. [Winarto v. Toshiba America Electronics Components, Inc., 274 F.3d 1276, 1289-90, 87 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 1059 (9th Cir. 2001), cert. dismissed, 537 U.S. 1098, 123 S. Ct. 816, 154 L. Ed. 2d 766 (2003)] Massachusetts also uses the “reasonable person” and “reasonable woman” standards to determine whether the plaintiff has been threatened, intimidated or coerced. [Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, Inc. v. Blake, 417 Mass. 467, 474-475 ("standard of whether a reasonable woman Â… would be threatened, intimidated or coerced by the defendants' conduct"); Ayasli v. Armstrong, 56 Mass. App. Ct. 740, 749, 780 N.E.2d 926 (2002), review denied, 439 Mass. 1101, 786 N.E.2d 394 (2003) ("Whether conduct constitutes threats, intimidation, or coercion under the statute is tested by a reasonable person standard")] The speech alone clause in subdivision (j) ensures that constitutionally protected speech is not actionable under the Bane Act. [See In re M.S., 10 Cal. 4th 698, 710-16.] In M.S. the California Supreme Court stated that “When a reasonable person would foresee that the context and import of the words will cause the listener to believe he or she will be subjected to physical violence, the threat falls outside First Amendment protection.” [In re M.S., 10 Cal. 4th 698, 710] M.S. held that Pen. Code, § 422.6, a hate crime statute enacted at the same time as the Bane Act, was not constitutionally infirm because, by requiring that the defendant have the “apparent ability” to carry out the threat, the proscribed “threat must be one that would reasonably tend to induce fear in the victim.” [In re M.S., 10 Cal. 4th 698, 715] Since subdivision (j) of the Bane Act includes all the elements that allowed Pen. Code, § 422.6 to pass constitutional muster, subdivision (j) likewise comports with the First Amendment. [In re M.S., 10 Cal. 4th 698, 715-716]”

    Based on the above discussion of undisputed material facts and laws, it can be deduced that designing and advertisement of the pictures of Hindu God Ganesh by Duane Flatmo and Lost Coast Brewery, its owners is not protected by First Amendment because the court may come to factual and legal conclusions based on reasonable person standard that their conducts designing and advertising followed by speeches constitute interference, threat, intimidation, coercion; Plaintiff and Hindus are entitled for reasonable damages: compensatory, statutory, punitive, and cost of the lawsuit, and attorney per se fees, and any other orders and directions to Suzie Owsley (Eureka Police Officer, Crime Branch) or Government Officers of State of California officers to implement “Preventive Hate Crime” deterrence policy of State of California and United States of America.
    Conclusions

    Based on the above undisputed material facts, PlaintiffÂ’s Motion of Summary Judgment or in the Alternative for Summary Adjudication may be granted with cost and attorney pro se fees as a matter of laws in the interest of justice. Date: 01/16/06

                        Most Respectfully Submitted 
                     By Brij Mohan Dhir, Plaintiff Pro Per     
    
  31. i do not appreciate tyou putting Jesus on this site, it is wrong and it doesnt belong here.

  32. Karthik: If you are a true beliver such depictions will hold no meaning to you. There is no need to get worked up over such depictions. Tolerence and freedom of expression has always been the core of Hindu way of life