Court says California mall's chat policy illegal

Local Court News Posted on

A Northern California appeals court has struck down a shopping mall's policy barring people from approaching strangers to chitchat.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal this week said the rules at Roseville's Westfield Galleria violate the California Constitution's free speech guarantee.

The mall prohibited people in its common areas from approaching people they didn't know to talk unless the conversation was about business involving the mall or its tenants. The case arose after mall officials issued a citizen's arrest of a 27-year-old pastor who tried to talk about his faith.

The appeals court says the policy effectively bars shoppers from chatting about the weather or offering directions.

A spokeswoman for Westfield says the mall is considering appealing to the California Supreme Court.

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