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January 2005

MediaLawLetter August 2005


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Legislative Update: Shield Bill & FOIA

Ethics: The Ugly Consequences of a Conflict Between Company and Reporter


4th Cir.: Fourth Circuit Reinstates Hatfill Anthrax Libel Suit Against NY Times
Paper seeks en banc review
Hatfill v. New York Times

Ky. App.: Multimillion Dollar Verdict Reinstated
Sufficient evidence of actual malice to sustain judgment
Kentucky Kingdom v. Belo Kentucky, d/b/a WHAS-TV

S.C. App.: Directed Verdict on Political Candidate’s Libel Suit Was Error
Evidence that newspaper doubted editorial
Anderson v. Augusta Chronicle

Va. Cir. Ct.: School Official’s Libel by Implication Claim Over Editorial Survives
Editorial could imply criminal conduct
Jackson v. Landmark Communications d/b/a Virginian-Pilot

W. Va. Cir. Ct.: West Virginia Court Dismisses Judge’s Libel Claim Over Campaign Ad
Statements in campaign ad were true or opinion
McGraw v. Blankenship

Ill. Cir. Ct.: Defamation Complaint Over Allegedly “Anti-Semitic” Ad Dismissed
Advertisement did not convey objectively verifiable facts
Imperial Apparel v. Cosmo’s Designers Direct and Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.

S.D. Fla.: No Trespass in Undercover “Inside Edition” Story
Bench verdict for defendant
Pitts Sales, Inc. v. King World Productions, Inc.

S.C. C. P.: Public Official’s Lawsuit Against Newspapers Dismissed
Insufficient evidence of actual malice
Metts v. Mims

Ind. Cir. Ct.: Anti-SLAPP Statute Applied to Dismiss Claim Against Newspaper
Newspaper awarded attorney fees
Shepard v. Schurz Communications

N.J. App.: One More Reason To Avoid Employment References
Bolsters plaintiffs’ claims for improper references
Singer v. Beach Trading Company, Inc.

Cal. Cir. Ct.: Models Win Right of Publicity Trial Against Advertising Agency
Restaurant defendant found not liable
DeSalvo v. Kerker & Buca, Inc.


S.D.N.Y.: Court Rejects Copyright Challenge to The Da Vinci Code
Court finds lack of substantial similarity with challenged works
Brown et al. v. Perdue

9th Cir.: District Court Should Not Have Terminated Copyright Lawsuit
Collateral estoppel defense rejected
Kourtis v. Cameron

S.D.N.Y.: Copyright Claim Over The Truman Show Dismissed
No substantial similarity between works
Mowry v. Viacom, et al.


Vt.: Court Orders TV Station to Produce Unaired Tapes of Campus Riot
No First Amendment right to withhold evidence from criminal investigation
In re Inquest Subpoena (WCAX)

C.D. Cal: Court Denies Motion to Compel Reporter’s Testimony in Privacy Act Case
Allegedly leaked information was already public
Wright v. FBI

Kentucky Sup. Ct.: Television Station Held in Contempt for Failing to Turn Over Tapes
Outtakes sought by defendant in criminal case

Ohio App.: Court Orders Reporter to Testify Before Grand Jury
Rejects privilege based on state constitution
Ohio v. Jones


6th Cir.: Appeal Filed to Sixth Circuit in Retaliation / Access Case
City officials barred from speaking to reporters from The Business Journal
Youngstown Publishing Co. v. McKelvey

Ohio: Ohio Supreme Court Rules Police Photographs Not Subject to Disclosure
Court holds photo exempt under Ohio’s Public Records Act
Plain Dealer Publishing v. Cleveland

4th Cir.: Fourth Circuit Upholds Sealing of Post 9/11 Search Warrant Affidavits
Procedures to seal were adequate
Media General Operations v. Buchanan

Wash.: Prisoner Health Care Records, Disciplined Staff Must Be Disclosed
Limits scope of public records exemption for law enforcement
Prison Legal News v. Department of Corrections


4th Cir.: Cybergriper Can Keep Website
No likelihood of confusion
Lamparello v. Falwell

E.D. Va.: Google Potentially Liable for Trademark Infringement for Sponsored Links
Plaintiff’s marks used in competitors sponsored links
Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO) v. Google, Inc


Thailand: Criminal Libel Case in Thailand Draws International Attention
Strong media amicus effort has submitted witness statement

England: Court of Appeal Allows Times to Raise Reynolds Defense
Trial court should have allowed newspaper to present defense
Armstrong v. Times

Canada: Single Publication Rule Rejected in Internet Libel Case
Court relies on English caselaw
Carter v. B.C. Federation of Foster Parents


N. M. Mag. Ct.: New Mexico Man Convicted of Criminal Libel
Defendant complained of police harassment
New Mexico v. Mata

Okla.: Criminal Libel Case in Tribal Court
Tribe member found not guilty
Citizen Potawatomi Nation v. Bruno

Okla.: Former Oklahoma State Senator Makes Criminal Libel Complaint
Complaint against website referred to local prosecutor

Mo.: Missouri Enacts Tort Reform Legislation
Provisions will apply to communications/media industry

Fla.: City Official’s Suicide Unleashes Debate on Media Law and Ethics Issues