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January 2004

MediaLawLetter January 2004


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Ethics Corner: Pre-Litigation Issues for Media Lawyers in the Post-Zabulake World


S.Ct.: Supreme Court Rejects Appeal by Ramsey Housekeeper
Hoffmann-Pugh v. Keenan

S.Ct.: Supreme Court Rejects Tony Twist Publicity Case
Doe v. TCI Cablevision of Missouri

S.Ct.: Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Appeal Seeking Names of 9/11 Detainees
Center for Nat. Sec. Studies v. D.O.J.

S.Ct.: Supreme Court Denies Cert. in Internet Libel Case
Wagner v. Miskin

S.Ct.: Supreme Court Upholds Campaign Finance Law
A look at the impact on broadcast media


Tex.: Texas Supreme Court Reinstates Summary Judgment for Forbes
Unanimous opinion finds no evidence of actual malice in 11-year old suit
Forbes Inc. v. Granada Biosciences, Inc.

N.C. Super.: North Carolina Television Station & Reporter Win Trespass Trial
Jury verdict in favor of defendants in claim based on videotaping inside nursing home
Havon, Inc. v. Chesapeake Televsion, Inc.

Cal.: California Supreme Court Strongly Reaffirms Single Publication Rule
Court announces bright line test for statute of limitations in O.J. Simpson-related case
Shively v. Bozanich

Ga. App.: The Single Publication Rule Applies to Internet Publications in Georgia
Court upholds dismissal of defamation claim despite news article’s presence on Internet archive
McCandliss v. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

N.D. Miss.: Mississippi Statute of Limitations Starts with Publication on Internet
Statute of limitations accrued from date article was posted even when hard copy editions followed
Lane v. Strang Communications Co.

Min. App.: Lawyer’s Statements to Media About Lawsuit Not Privileged Under Minnesota Law
Plaintiff found to be private figure in suit against source, but public figure in case against ABC
Chafoulias v. Peterson and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

S.D.N.Y.: Stock Broker Avoids Dismissal of Libel Suit
Court holds book’s description susceptible to defamatory meaning of insider trading
Lucking v. Maier & HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Cal. App.: California Appeals Court Reverses Default Libel Judgment Against Non-Resident
Court finds it lacks personal jurisdiction over operator of passive website
Rambam v. Prytulak

D. Colo.: Colorado Federal Court Enjoins Criminal Libel Investigation
College student to pursue constitutional challenge to state law
Mink v. Gonzalez, et al.

U.S.: Other U.S. Criminal Libel Developments
Minnesota legislator pleads guilty to false campaign advertising


Pa.: Pennsylvania Shield Law Does Not Apply to Non-Confidential Sources in Criminal Case
State Supreme Court conducts first review of state shield law scope since 1987
Commonwealth v. Bowden

D.R.I.: Rhode Island District Court Denies Motion to Stay in Reporter’s Privilege Case
Court grants 30 day stay to appeal to the First Circuit for a stay
In re Special Proceedings


Cal.: No Access to Ancillary Grand Jury Proceedings
L.A. Times v. Superior Court

11th Cir.: Police Officer Cannot be Sued for Arresting News Photographer During Riot Coverage
Court rules officer is entitled to qualified immunity in aftermath of Elian Gonzalez raid
Durruthy v. Pastor

Pa.: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Finds No Right of Access to Legislator’s Phone Records
Paper’s § 1983 claims alleging discriminatory access survive motion to dismiss
Uniontown Newspapers, Inc. v. Lawrence Roberts

Del.: Delaware Supreme Court Agrees to Allow Cameras into Some Civil Courts
State Supreme Court authorizes expanded media coverage on a 6-month trial basis

S.D.N.Y.: Voire Dire Closed in Martha Stewart Case
Second Circuit grants expedited appeal
U.S. v. Stewart

Mont.: Businesses May Not Assert “Individual Privacy Rights” Under State Constitution
Businesses may not raise claim when attempting to withhold publicly filed documents
Great Falls Tribune et al. v. Montana Public Service Commission


9th Cir.: Keyword-Based Banner Ads on the Web May Infringe Trademark Rights
Trademark holder complains about search engines’ sale of advertisements based on use of mark
Playboy Enterprises, Inc. v. Netscape Communications Corp.

E.D. Va.: Pop Up Ads Violate Trademark Law Under “Initial Interest Confusion” Test
Ruling conflicts with two other decisions with same defendant
1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. and Vision Direct, Inc.

W.D. Wis.: Lawsuit Against Consumer Complaint Websites Dismissed
Marketer sues websites after 30-plus complaints about its product were posted by defendants
Hy Cite Corporation v. BadBusinessBureau, L.L.C.

S.D.N.Y.: Internet Subscriber Not Entitled to Consequential Damages for Service Break
Description of user as “spammer” at the time declared not defamatory
Hall and Big Bad Productions v. Earthlink Network, Inc.

6th Cir.: Use of Copyrighted Art Work in Television Commercial Held de minimus
Illustrator claimed copyright infringement for use of works in background of commercial
Gordon v. Nextel Communications and Mullen Advertising

9th Cir.: Ninth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for “Food Chain Barbie” Artist
Court finds works to be parodies protected by First Amendment
Mattel Inc. v. Walking Mountain Productions


U.K.: Jury Verdict in England Against Wall Street Journal Europe
Mohammed Abdul Latif Jameel v. Wall Street Journal Europe

Foreign: International Libel Roundup: Recent Cases of Note

France: Journalist Convicted for Receiving Documents in Violation of Judicial Confidentiality
Paris Criminal Court rejects claim that prosecution violated Art. 10 of ECHR
TGI v. Millet


Colorado: Aspen Times Settles Lawsuit with Source
Newspaper settles for undisclosed amount after indirectly revealing source’s identity
Poissant v. Eagle Summit Publishing Co.

Cal. Cir.: Gary Condit Seeks $209 Million in Defamation Suit Against Tabloids
Former Congressman filed suit in mid-December against American Media Inc.

Cal. App.: California Appeals Court Reins in Punitive Damage Awards
Court sets new precedent in cutting punitive award from $290 million to $23 in non-media case
Romo v. Ford Motor Company

Iraq: Iraq War Media Update
New Year’s injuries end deadly year for journalists