Skip to main content
January 2005

MediaLawLetter February 2005


pdf Download Publication


Legislative Update: Reporter’s Privilege, Indecency, Freedom of Information

MLRC: MLRC Report on Trials and Damages Released
Number of trials per year continues to decline


D.C. Cir.: D.C. District Court Affirms Contempt Orders in Plame Leak Investigation
Relying on Branzburg the court squarely rejects First Amendment arguments
In re Grand Jury Subpoena, Judith Miller

Congress: Federal Shield Bill Introduced in House and Senate
Shield law would create absolute privilege for disclosure of confidential sources

S.D.N.Y.: New York Federal Court Blocks Subpoena of Reporters’ Phone Records
Reporters’ privilege upheld on both constitutional and common law grounds
New York Times v. Gonzales

N.Y.: Criminal Defendant Entitled to Unpublished Tapes of Interrogation
Court finds defendant entitled to unpublished, non-confidential materials
People v. Combest

6th Cir.: Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Ventura Lawsuit
Court rejects claim that defendants outed a confidential source
Ventura v. The Cincinnati Enquirer


Mass. Super. Ct.: Boston Jury Awards $2.1 Million to Judge
Case involved statements in newspaper; TV talk show
Murphy v. Boston Herald, Inc.

Mass.: Super. Ct. Boston Globe Wins Private Figure Libel Trial
Plaintiff failed to prove falsity of statements at issue
Stephen Columbus v. Globe Newspaper Company, et al.

Mass.: Court Affirms Default Judgment in Ayash
Newspaper refused to reveal confidential sources relating to claim against third party
Ayash v. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

6th Cir.: Defamation Award Reversed for Failure to Use Special Verdict Form
Plaintiff did not identify allegedly defamatory statements with specificity
West v. Media General Operations, Inc.

Ill. App. Ct.: Illinois Rejects Absolute Privilege for Intracorporate Communications
Attorney could bring claim for statements in termination memo
Popko v. Continental Casualty Company et al.

Ga. Ct. App.: Court Body Slams Hulk Hogan’s Defamation and False Light Claims
Court finds statements made in fictional setting did not state actual facts
Bollea v. World Championship Wrestling

Cal. Ct. App.: Appeals Court Rejects Action Brought Against Finnish Publisher
Court holds defendant not subject to personal jurisdiction in California
Nygard v. Oy

La. Ct. App.: Court Affirms Anti-SLAPP Dismissal of Media Libel Claim
Court found fact that allegations were made was true
Thompson v. Emmis Television Broadcasting

Ariz.: Supreme Court to Hear Emotional Distress Claim Over Letter to Editor
Readers brought claim over letter expressing reaction to Iraqi war
Citizen Publishing Co. v. Hon. Leslie Miller, Judge of the Superior Court of Arizona, Pima County (Aly W. Elleitheee and Wali Yudeen S. Abdul Rahim, Respondents-Real Parties in Interest)


D. Md. Newspaper’s Suit Against Maryland Governor Dismissed
Court found paper sought access beyond that granted to private citizens
Baltimore Sun Co. et al. v. Ehrlich

Ca. Ct. App.: Juvenile Courts Can Order Child Protective Agencies to Open Their Files
Petitioners granted access to files on deceased children
In re Elijah S. (Hearst Corporation et al. v. San Mateo County Human Services Agency)

C.D. Cal.: Court Breaks Seal on Los Angeles Grocery Stores’ Mutual Aid Pact
Court raises public’s right of access over protection of labor strategies
California v. Safeway, Inc. et al.


9th Cir.: Ninth Circuit Grants Rehearing in Yahoo v. LICRA
Case has important implications for enforcement of foreign judgments
Yahoo! Inc. v. La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et L’Antisemitisme

N.J. App. Ct.: N.J. Appellate Court Finds Immunity for Web Editor
Court holds Section 230 of the CDA shields webmaster from liability
Donato v. Moldow

2d Cir.: Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Action Against ISP
ISP’s retention of e-mail did not violate federal wiretap act
Hall v. Earthlink Network, Inc.


UK: UK Court of Appeal Dismisses Saudi Libel Claim Against Dow Jones
Suit based on limited publication would be an abuse of process
Youssef Jameel v. Dow Jones

UK: House of Lords Rules that a Fugitive Can Give Evidence By Video-Link
Polanski will not have to face extradition by testifying in person
Polanski v. Conde Nast Publications Ltd.

ECHR: “McLibel” Campaigners Win Their Legal Battle in Strasbourg
Denial of legal aid to libel defendants violated ECHR
Steele & Morris v. United Kingdom

UK: Court of Appeal Affirms Jury Award Against Dow Jones
Court rejects qualified privilege defense
Jameel v. Wall Street Journal Europe

Cayman Islands: Court Refuses to Allow Service on Florida Financial News Publisher
Developer brought breach of confidence claim against U.S. publisher
Condoco Grand Cayman Resort Ltd. v. KYC News, Inc.


Poll: Study Released on High School Students’ First Amendment Attitudes
Poll finds students take First Amendment for granted