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January 2004

MediaLawLetter August 2004


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LDRC Institute Publishes MLRC White Paper on Reporter’s Privilege

Legislative Update: Patient Safety & Quality Improvement Act; Journalist’s Visas

Ethics Corner: Representing Multiple Clients: No Time for Complacency


D.D.C.: Five Reporters Held in Contempt in Wen Ho Lee Lawsuit
Case likely to be a major test of reporter’s privilege in civil cases
Lee v. United States Dep’t of Justice

Big Month for the Reporter’s Privilege
A brief recap of events from last month involving reporter’s privilege

D.D.C.: TIME inc. and Reporter Held in Contempt in Plame Leak Investigation
Contempt cleared when reporter agreed to interview by prosecutors
In Re: Special Counsel Investigation

S.D.N.Y.: Judge Requires Reporter to Testify at Lynne Stewart Trial
Court reaffirms qualified privilege for non-confidential sources; rules privilege overcome
U.S. v. Lynne Stewart

D.Conn.: Court Quashed Subpoena for Reporter’s Testimony Under Federal Privilege and Rule 45
Reporter does not have to confirm published quotations from witness
Concerned Citizens of Belle Haven v. Belle Haven Club, Inc.

Ohio: Toledo Radio Slander Case Settled
Contempt appeal dropped; Reporter’s privilege appeal continues
Svoboda v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc.


9th Cir.: Affirms Preliminary Injunction Restraining Distribution of Anti-Tax Book
Finds book is fraudulent commercial speech
U.S. v. Schiff

Colo. Dist. Ct.: Prior Restraint Orders in the Kobe Bryant Case
Presiding judge orders not one, but two, unconstitutional prior restraints
Colorado v. Bryant

Fla. Cir.: State Sides with Jacksonville Stations’ Appeal of Prior Restraint
State’s brief argues grand jury transcript was presumptively open as public and court record
Florida v. Barber


D.D.C.: District Court Rules in Favor of Congressman Boehner in Wiretap Dispute
Defendant unlawfully obtained tape by accepting it with knowledge it was illegally recorded
Boehner v. McDermott

W.D.Ok.: Jury Finds for GQ, Writer
Article Did Not Defame Former FBI Agent
Jenkins v. Advance Magazine Publishers, Inc.

IACHR: Inter-American Human Rights Court Throws Out Reporter’s Criminal Libel Conviction
Holds conviction of Costa Rican journalist violates free speech under Article 13 of ACHR
Herrera Ulloa v. Costa Rica

3rd Cir.: Affirms Dismissal of Suit Over Use of Plaintiff’s Name in Ad
Court holds ad could not be construed as concerning plaintiffs; name was a “generic placeholder”
Botts v. New York Times Co.

Kan. Ct. App.: Court Affirms Criminal Libel Convictions
Court fails to give serious consideration to constitutional issues
Kansas v. Powers

C.D. Cal.: Court Rules Criminal Police Libel Statue Unconstitutional
Conflicts with Cal. Supreme Court which previously upheld statute against similar challenge
Hamilton v. San Bernardino

Wyo.: State Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Defamation Suit on Jurisdiction Grounds
Wyoming catalogue publisher cannot sue Nebraska-based advertiser in Wyoming
Cheyenne Publishing v. Starostka

D.N.M.: Court Throws Out Defamation Suit by Carolyn Condit
New Mexico lacked personal jurisdiction over newspaper defendants
Carolyn Condit v. USA TODAY and Gannett Co.

Cal. App.: Court Holds eBay Not Immune Under CDA
But online release effective to protect Internet auction house eBay
Grace v. eBay, Inc.

D.Minn.: Libel Suit Over Aviation Ratings Dismissed
Public figure plaintiff could not show defendant acted with actual malice
Aviation Charter, Inc. v. Aviation Research Group/US and Joseph Moeggenberg

Minn. App.: Appeals Court Reinstates Officer’s Libel Award
Judge improperly granted JNOV in retrial, since jury’s decision was reasonable
Schlieman v. Gannett Minnesota Broadcasting

E.D.Pa.: Defense Verdict in Libel By Implication Case Stands
Judge denies new trial motion
Franklin Prescriptions, Inc. v. The New York Times

S.D. Miss.: 60 Minutes Report on “Jackpot Justice” Held Not “Of and Conerning” Juror Plaintiffs
District court emphasizes strict application of element under Mississippi law
Berry v. Safer; Gales v. CBS Broadcasting

D. Colo.: HIPAA Does Not Provide Private Right of Action, Court Rules
Court also denies hospital’s request for return of confidential medical report from newspaper
Univ. of Colo. Hosp. Auth. v. The Denver Publishing Company


Az. Super.: Arizona Court Upholds Criminal Trespass Conviction for Reporter
On remand, municipal court lifts one-year probation imposed on reporter
Arizona v. Bryon Wells

D.C. Cir.: Appeals Court Admonishes Judges to Keep Criminal Hearings, Records Open
Panel reiterates governing standards for sealing records of criminal proceedings
Nellson v. Bayly

D.D.C.: Judge Partially Dismisses FOIA Suit Seeking Records on SEC Contacts
Plaintiffs sought records of Harvey Pitt’s communications with accounting and securities firms
Bloomberg L.P. v. SEC

N.J.: State Supreme Court Avoids Tackling Pretrial Discovery Access – For Now
Court rejects trial lawyers’ request; directs committee of lawyers and judges to study issue
Estate of Frankl v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.

R.I. Super.: Privacy Concerns Cited in Rejecting Access to 911 Calls
Mixed results on Rhode Island nightclub fire document requests
Providence Journal v. Town of West Warwick

Minn.: Access to Info on State University Presidential Candidates
University must disclose identities of five unsuccessful candidates
Star Tribune Co. v. Univ. of Minn. Board of Regents

8th Cir.: Appeals Court Affirms Media Policy Banning Cameras in Execution Chamber
Court holds there is no First Amendment right to film proceedings open to the public
Rice v. Kempker


EU: European Union’s “Rome II” Approach to Choice of Law Moves Forward
MLRC /others urging “Country of Origin” approach

Can.: Media Organizations Urge Ontario Court of Appeal to Reverse Finding of Jurisdiction
More than 50 media organizations intervene to file a brief in support of Washington Post appeal
Bangoura v. The Washington Post

Can.: Truth and Public Interest Insufficient to Protect Against Defamation Claim
Quebec citizens left with less free speech protection than rest of Canada
Gilles E. Neron Communication Marketing Inc. v. Chambre des notaires du Quebec

Can.: Canadian Radio Station Loses License for Offensive Broadcasts
CRTC refuses to renew license after numerous complaints about content

9th Cir.: 9th Cir. Holds Yahoo! French Judgment Bar Premature
California lacks jurisdiction; ISP must wait until litigants try to enforce French judgment in U.S.
Yahoo! Inc. v. LICRA and UEJF


S.D.N.Y.: Fox’s Scrat Prevails in a Scrap with Silberstein’s Sqrat
Movie’s scrat character did not infringe plaintiff’s sqrat logo
Silberstein v. Fox Entertainment Group Inc.

9th Cir.: No Injunction Issues Over ESPN’s Playmakers Television Series
Court finds no likelihood of consumer confusion
PlayMakers, LLC v. ESPN, Inc.


Cal.: State Supreme Court Reverses Minor’s Criminal Conviction for Penning “Dark Poetry”
Court recognizes U.S. Supreme Court requires independent review of record in 1st Amend. cases
In re George T.

FCC: FCC Releases Three Notices of Inquiry on Programming
Summary of notices for violent television; broadcast localism; and retention of program recordings

W.D.N.Y.: Federal Judge Dismisses Former Reporter’s § 1983 Action Against Newspaper
Reporter brought suit after paper refused to print articles about local district attorney
Rivoli v. Gannett Co.