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September 2016

MediaLawLetter August 2016

in this issue

Georgia Court Quashes Subpoena for Unpublished News Footage

Request for In Camera Review an Improper ‘Fishing Expedition’ By Meghan Claiborne & Amy Gross A Georgia trial court held that requiring disclosure of raw, unpublished footage of defendant’s arrest filmed during the production of a FOX 5 news report would be tantamount to a “disclosure” under the Georgia Reporter’s Privilege, and thus could not…

D.C. Circuit Rules Terrorism Victims Can’t Attach Countries’ Internet Domains

Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act Will Not Reach Iranian, Syrian, and North Korean Domains By Brian J. Goodrich The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has held that country code top-level domains (“ccTLDs”) are not attachable foreign property under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (“FSIA”). Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran, No. 14-7193 (D.C….

Illinois AG: Public Employee’s Personal Emails Can Be Public Records

From the Next Gen Committee By Drew Shenkman The Chicago Police Department must conduct a search of the private email accounts of the twelve police officers involved in the October 2014 shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald, the Illinois Attorney General ruled in a binding opinion responding to an appeal submitted by CNN. McDonald was shot…


Third Circuit Dismisses Cosby Appeal as Moot

Documents Already Released to the Public Cannot Be Re-Sealed By Elizabeth Seidlin-Bernstein The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has rejected Bill Cosby’s request to re-seal documents that were already released to the public and covered extensively in the media, dismissing the entertainer’s appeal as moot. Constand v. Cosby, No. 15-2797, 2016 WL…


California Supreme Court Holds Anti-SLAPP Reaches Distinct Claims

Decision Resolves Split Among Appellate Districts By Stacey H. Wang In a watershed opinion, the California Supreme Court resolved a split among appellate districts to make it easier for defendants to win anti-SLAPP rulings when the case involves more than speech. In Baral v. Schnitt, Case No. S225090, 2016 WL 4074081, *1 (Cal. Sup. Ct….


Newspaper Can Sue Photographer and Agency Over Miscaptioned Photo

In an interesting decision, a New York trial court ruled that the New York Daily News can proceed with a third-party action for contribution against a freelance photographer and photo agencies that licensed a misidentified photo at the heart of a libel suit against the newspaper. Lederer v. Daily News, L.P., 2016 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS…


Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Wins Directed Verdict in Doctor’s Libel Trial

Article About Prescribing Controlled Drugs Protected by Fair Report Privilege On August 24, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper was granted a directed verdict, dismissing a doctor’s defamation case over an article entitled “Board rebukes LR doctor for Rx excesses.” Nayles v. Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (Pulaski County Circuit Aug. 24, 2016) (Fox, J.). The June 7, 2013 article…

Rolling Stone Article Not “Of and Concerning” Three UVA Frat Members

Court Also Rejects Plaintiffs’ ‘Small Group Libel’ Theory A federal district court in New York recently dismissed a defamation suit against Rolling Stone and author Sabrina Ederly over their discredited 2014 article A Rape on Campus as not “of and concerning” the three fraternity member plaintiffs. Elias v. Rolling Stone LLC, No. 15-CV-5963 (PKC), 2016…


Third Circuit Reinstates Libel Suit vs Newspaper Over Stock Photo Illustration

Article Could Be “Of and Concerning” Firefighter in Photo The Third Circuit reinstated libel and false light claims against the New York Daily News over a January 29, 2015 online article entitled “Heated Sex Scandal Surrounds Philadelphia Fire Department: ‘It’s Bad Stuff.’”  Cheney v. Daily News, L.P., No. 15-2251 (3d Cir., July 19, 2016) (Fisher,…

Ninth Circuit Upholds Order Denying Anti-SLAPP Motion In Stock Photograph Defamation by Implication Case

By Katherine M. Bolger & Matthew L. Schafer Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion affirming a district court order that denied a publisher’s special motion to strike a complaint filed by a former porn star. Manzari v. Associated Newspapers Ltd., No. 14-55329, 2016 WL 3974178 (9th Cir. July 25, 2016)….

The Monthly Daily: An Ongoing Experiment in Drinking from the Firehose

What Happens When You Condense a Month of Stories into a Single Article? By Jeff Hermes        You can feel things ramping up here at the MLRC as we get ready for the fall events season. We’ve got Virginia next month, of course; there’s a little surprise in Northern California we’re cooking up for October…

Campaign Lies: How Should Reporters Expose the Liars?

From the Executive Director’s Desk Presidential campaigns inevitably give rise to many journalistic issues. The current campaign raises more questions than most, the most significant – and under-covered – being how the media should deal with candidates who often lie. That is no small issue, whether you call it a lie, a deliberate falsehood, or…

MediaLawLetter August 2016

 Download Publication MLRC From the Executive Director’s DeskCampaign Lies: How Should Reporters Expose the Liars? The Monthly DailyAn Ongoing Experiment in Drinking from the Firehose LIBEL & PRIVACY 9th Cir.: Court Upholds Order Denying Anti-SLAPP Motion In Stock Photograph Defamation by Implication CaseManzari v. Associated Newspapers Ltd. 3d Cir.: Court Reinstates Libel Suit vs Newspaper…