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January 2006

MediaLawLetter February 2006



MLRC Report on Trials and Damages
Review of 2005 Trials and Long Term Trends

MLRC Creates Model Shield Law
Model Law Drafted and Vetted By Media Defense Coalition

Ethics Corner: Ethical Issues Concerning Metadata
What Should You Do About Data Hidden in Your Electronic Documents?


4th Cir.: Fourth Circuit Upholds Maryland Governor’s Boycott of Two Journalists
Court Finds No Actionable Retaliation
Baltimore Sun v. Ehrlich


SC Sup. Ct.: South Carolina Jury Finds Vietnam Memoir Not Libelous
Retired Colonel and Publisher Win Negligence Trial – Libel Counterclaim Also Rejected
Tuttle v. Marvin

W.D. Tex.: Texas Court Reconsiders Private Facts Suit
Dismisses Claim Over Newsworthy Article
Lowe v. Hearst

W.D. Okla.: Federal Court Grants Summary Judgment on Private Facts Claim
TV Station Aired Excerpt of Allegedly Videotaped Rape
Anderson v. Blake

NY Sup. Ct.: Privacy Claim Over Documentary Survives Motion to Dismiss
Women Filmed on Street Stated Claim
Nieves v. HBO

S.D. Fla.: Media Company Wins Sanctions Against Plaintiff’s Lawyer!
Sanctioned for Frivolous Libel Suit
Universal Communications Systems v. Turner Broadcasting

1st Cir.: First Circuit Reinstates Libel-by-Juxtaposition Claim
Photo in Teen Sex Article Could Be Defamatory
Stanton v. Metro

Md. App.: Maryland Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal for Failure to Plead Fault
Fault Is Essential Element of a Prima Facie Claim
Mirabile v. Bierman

Ariz. Super. Ct.: Gannett Wins Summary Judgement in Taser Libel Suit
No Actual Malice in Publication of Erroneous Sidebar
Taser Int’l v. Gannett Co.

NY Sup. Ct.: Court Dismisses Libel and Negligence Claims By Disgruntled Source
But Claim Stated for Alleged Breach of Embargo
Aretakis v. Hearst

D.C. Cir.: Affirms Dismissal of Lawyer’s Libel Complaint Against Noisy Students
Court Relies on “Self-Defense” Privilege
Washburn v. Lavoie, et al.


D.C. Cir. Cert.: Cert. Petition Filed in Wen Ho Lee Case
Journalists Seek Review of Contempt
Drogin, Hebert, Risen v. Lee, DOJ, FBI, DOE

Cal. Sup. Ct.: California Court Quashes Press Subpoena in Murder Case
Rejects Claim That Privilege Was Waived
People v. Morrow


7th Cir.: Court Rebukes Trial Court for Sealing Opinions in Trade Secrets Case
District Judge Sealed Opinions Without Explanation
Hicklin Engineering v. R.J. Bartell


Ark.: Arkansas Supreme Court Ends Year Long Prior Restraint
Newspaper Was Ordered Not to Report Allegations of Judicial Misconduct
Helena Daily World v. Simes


ECHR: ECHR Agrees to Hear Appeal of Russian Libel Case
Will Consider Whether Government Entities Can Sue for Libel
Romanenko v. Russia

UK: Court Holds Biography Violates Right of Privacy
An End to Unauthorized Biographies?
McKennitt v. Ash

UK: High Court Rules Reporter Can Protect Confidential Sources
Journalist Need Not Disclose Source of Medical Records
Ashworth Hospital v. MGN Ltd.

EU: Setback for Press in “Rome II” Choice of Law Negotiations
EU Commission Decides to Withdraw Press-Friendly Rule


11th Cir.: British Peer Withdraws Appeal in Claim Against U.S. Intelligence Source
Suit Barred By Statute of Limitations
Ashcroft v. Randel

D. Colo.: Majority of Expanded Adult Industry Record-Keeping Law Upheld
Broad Challenge to §2257 Rejected
Free Speech Coalition v. Gonzalez

11 Cir.: Eleventh Circuit Strikes Down Sign Ordinance
Found to Be Unconstitutional Content-based Restriction
Solantic v. Neptune Beach