Right to speak freely about engineering is subject of 1st Amendment lawsuit

Mats Jarlstrom is in a First Amendment legal battle over the right to discuss traffic-light times in Oregon.

An Oregon engineer who has been trying for years to convince state officials to elongate yellow traffic light times has a new cause: the First Amendment.

Mats Jarlstrom, who has an engineering degree from Sweden, has performed a variety of research and has concluded that yellow lights should last longer to allow for vehicles turning right. The state’s response was not to consider his advice, but to fine him. Last summer, he was fined $500 (PDF) by the Oregon State Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying because he was found to be practicing engineering without a license. While states require engineers to have licenses and pass exams, Oregon also requires a license to even discuss engineering publicly or even to say you’re an engineer.

Jarlstrom’s letters to public agencies and the media discussing the need for new thinking in traffic lights prompted the fine. After paying up, he sued (PDF), saying the government’s behavior was a breach of the First Amendment right of speech. Jarlstrom wasn’t the only person the Oregon engineering board fined for speaking out against government practices, either. According to his legal team, the Institute for Justice, as many as six other people have been caught in the Oregon board’s web.

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Lululemon to close 40 Ivivva stores for girls; ‘athleisure’ retailer tops quarterly profit estimates

TORONTO — Premium athletic apparel maker Lululemon Athletica Inc on Thursday said it would close most of its Ivivva stores for girls and reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts’ forecasts, sending its shares up 15 per cent to US$56 in after-hours trading.

Chief Executive Laurent Potdevin said sales exceeded the company’s expectations at the beginning of the first quarter, thanks to stronger-than-expected sales of new product lines and fabrics.

The company reported adjusted per-share profit of 32 cents U.S. in the first quarter ended April 30, beating the 27 cent average forecast of analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 5 per cent to US$520.3 million, beating the average forecast of US$514.1 million.

Total comparable sales fell 1 per cent, on a constant dollar basis, better than the average forecast for a decline of 1.9 per cent, according to Consensus Metrix.

The company said it would close 40 Ivivva stores, out of a total of 55, and expected to take US$50 million and US$60 million in Ivivva restructuring charges in fiscal 2017, including US$17.7 million posted in the first quarter.

It raised its forecast for full-year per-share profit to between US$2.28 and US$2.38, compared with previous guidance of US$2.26 to US$2.36.

The Vancouver-based company popularized the “athleisure” market, but its once stellar growth has been tarnished as rivals introduced less-expensive gymwear.

©Thomson Reuters 2017