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Everything MLRC has published, in any publication, since 2017.

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Oct 2023

Third Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Internet Defamation Claims as Time-Barred

Elizabeth Seidlin-Bernstein

In concluding that the claims were time-barred under Pennsylvania’s one-year statute of limitations for defamation, the Third Circuit provided welcome clarity on the application of the single-publication rule to statements made on the internet and by journalists during the reporting process.

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Oct 2023

Discovery Order Leads to 8,000 New Pages of Documents in FOIA Lawsuit

Eric Weslander

A FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri recently led to the discovery of 8,000-plus pages of hospital survey materials that the requesters were previously told could not be found.

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Oct 2023

Colorado Court Holds That Public Officials’ Text Messages on Cell Phones are Public Records

Steve Zansberg

Judge Scoville’s ruling joined numerous other state courts in finding that text messages of public employees housed on personal cell phones are not outside the statutory definition of “public records” merely because they were never transferred to any government entity’s servers for storage and retrieval.

Oct 2023

Telephone Records Showing County Jail Snooping on Private Attorney-Client Phone Calls Ruled Public Records in Maine

Sigmund D. Schutz and Alex Harriman

In a recent win, the Maine Monitor secured a Superior Court order establishing that public records law requires disclosure of reports showing whether jails have recorded privileged telephone calls between jail inmates and their attorneys.

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Oct 2023

Utah State Records Panel Rules that Public Universities Must Disclose NIL Contracts

Jeffrey J. Hunt and Maria J. DeMarco

A government body — perhaps for the first time — has ruled that name, image, and likeness contracts that college athletes submit to public universities are public records and not protected from disclosure under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Oct 2023

Fifth Circuit Holds Texas Drone Regulation Law to Be Constitutional

Alicia Wagner Calzada

A recent drone journalism opinion out of the Fifth Circuit could have negative implications for years to come, beyond the issues in the case itself.

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Oct 2023

NBCUniversal Wins Dismissal of January 6 Activist’s Defamation Complaint

Natalie J. Spears, Samuel Fifer, Gregory R. Naron and Jessica Laurin Meek

In a strongly worded opinion, Judge Bataillon of the District of Nebraska granted NBCU’s motion to dismiss with prejudice on substantial truth grounds.

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Oct 2023

“This Stuff Is Incomprehensible”: Will Mass. High Court Reconsider its Anti-SLAPP Jurisprudence?

Jeffrey J. Pyle

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court may soon simplify its Byzantine interpretation of the Commonwealth’s Anti-SLAPP Law, if the justices’ questions at a recent oral argument are anything to go by.

Oct 2023

Kenneth P. Norwick: 1941-2023

Widely admired New York media lawyer, and passionate champion of artistic expression, Ken Norwick, died October 30th at the age of 82.

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Oct 2023

The Critical Importance of Televising the Trump Trials

George Freeman

It’s hard to believe that one-quarter of the way through the 21st century, with Americans spending more time looking at screens than ever before, the criminal trials of a former President and a leading candidate to be our next President will not be televised.

Oct 2023

Anti-SLAPP and Neuwirth = A Tough Challenge for Plaintiffs in New Jersey

Bruce S. Rosen

New Jersey’s long-awaited version of the UPEPA Anti-SLAPP law becomes effective with filings as of October 9, 2023, but now it has added teeth, not from the Legislature, but because of the Appellate Division’s sweeping published decision in Neuwirth, requiring all “public” defamation cases to plead specific facts supporting an allegation of actual malice.

Sep 2023

Louisiana Man’s COVID-19 Joke Protected by First Amendment, Fifth Circuit Decides

Matt Kristoffersen

“His post did not advocate ‘lawless’ and ‘imminent’ action, nor was it ‘likely’ to produce such action," wrote the court.

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Sep 2023

“The Happiest Courtroom on Earth”: Disney & Friends Take on DeSantis

Joe Slaughter and Chuck Tobin

It is rare to see three powerful amicus briefs filed at the motion to dismiss stage. But the unusual context only underscores the fundamental arguments made in the briefs: that DeSantis’s actions, as alleged in the complaint, are inimical to and corrosive of three fundamental pillars of American society – law, politics, and business.    

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Sep 2023

North Carolina Court Holds Records in Possession of Third-Party Contractor Subject to Public Records Disclosure Requirements

Lauren Russell and Kaitlin Gurney

The court also held that even though requestor, Charlotte television station WBTV, received the records before a final ruling on the merits, it was entitled to recover its attorneys’ fees under North Carolina’s public records law mandating fee awards to claimants who substantially prevail in compelling disclosure of public records.

Sep 2023

Washington Post Wins Suit Seeking Disciplinary Records of Former LGBTQ and Community Policing Liaison with History of Excessive Force

Margaret N. Strouse, Maxwell S. Mishkin, and Chuck Tobin

In an important victory for police transparency, DC Superior Court Judge Maurice A. Ross granted the Post’s motion for summary judgment, rejected the District’s arguments for withholding the records under FOIA’s privacy exemption, and ruled that the Post should be awarded its attorney’s fees.

Sep 2023

Connecticut Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of Connecticut’s Absolute Immunity Doctrine

Alexa Millinger and Kylie Huff

In a decision clarifying the limits of absolute immunity in defamation claims, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that a former Yale student accused of sexually assaulting a classmate can bring a civil defamation suit against his accuser arising out of a campus disciplinary proceeding.

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Sep 2023

Colorado Lawmakers Commit to Stop Auto-Deleting Instant Messages with Other Lawmakers

Steve Zansberg

The directive is the first in the nation to expressly prohibit legislators from using so-called “ephemeral messaging” apps when discussing public business.

Sep 2023

A Resounding Endorsement of Open Courts from South Carolina Supreme Court

Eric Robinson

But justices differed on the impact of closed nature of the trial court’s proceedings regarding the early release, with the majority ruling that the closure required that the release order be vacated and the dissent arguing that such an action was not required.

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Sep 2023

Federal Court Blocks Texas’ Book Ban

Michael J. Lambert

Judge Albright issued an Order preliminarily enjoining HB 900, holding that it violated the First Amendment because it compels speech, is unconstitutionally vague, and is an impermissible prior restraint.

Sep 2023

Journalist Who Fled Mexico After 2008 Death Threats Finally Granted Asylum

Chuck Tobin and Steve Zansberg

The tribunal noted that “journalists in Mexico are sometimes subject to physical attacks, harassment, and intimidation due to their reporting, making Mexico one of the most dangerous places in the world, outside war zones, for journalists.” 

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