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January 2005

MediaLawLetter January 2005


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Ethics Corner: Back From the Grave: The Defense of Arthur Andersen, Obstruction of Justice, and Document Retention

Legislative Update: Shield Bill and FOIA Reform


N.D. Ill.: Illinois Federal Court Quashes Subpoena Under Federal Rule 45
Court applies general federal procedural principles to distinguish Seventh Circuit decision
Patterson v. Burge


9th Cir.: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Evel Knievel Libel Suit
Court holds calling plaintiff a “pimp” was a non-actionable joke
Knievel v. ESPN, Inc.

6th Cir.: Sixth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Libel Claim Over Rap Lyrics
Court holds lyrics are “typical” of rap genre and do not state objective fact
Boladian v. UMG Recordings, Inc.

Wash. Ct. App.: “Extortion” in Context of Heated Litigation is Non-actionable Opinion
Court found context of statements is of paramount importance in libel analysis
Pinney v. Nordstrom

Mich. App. Ct.: Michigan Court Reinstates Privacy Claims Over Filming in Hospital ER
Court takes issue with broadcast of statement plaintiff was “on Prozac”
Stratton v. Krywko, et al.

Mich. Ct. App.: Directed Verdict Dismissing Plumber’s Libel Claim Affirmed
Appeals court agreed that columns were substantially true
Armour v. Federated Publications, Inc.

Ariz. Super. Ct.: Environmental Group Hit With $600,000 Jury Libel Verdict
Defendant faces actual and punitive damages for press release
Chilton v. Center for Biological Diversity, et al.

Ind. Dist. Ct.: Directed Verdict in Cable Comments Case
Cable television host did not act with actual malice
Jarosak v. Bloyer

Minn. Ct. App.: Court Affirms Dismissal of “Conspiracy Debunker’s” Libel Claim
Court found no actual malice in suit brought by public figure
Thomas J. Bieter v. James H. Feltzer, et al.

N.Y. Sup. Ct.: Reporter’s Conduct Does Not Constitute Intentional Interference with Contract
Court found reporter’s conduct was not intentional or unjustifiable
Sprewell v. NYP Holdings, Inc.

Ga. Sup. Ct.: Georgia Supreme Court Addresses Anti-SLAPP Statute
Judges are obligated to ferret out meritless suits at trial court level
Atlanta Humane Soc’y, et al. v. Harkins

Cal. App. Ct.: Girls Gone Wild DVD Not Covered by California Anti-SLAPP Statute
Not an issue of widespread public interest
Padilla v. MRA Holdings

N.Y. Sup. Ct.: Statement Accusing Columnist of “Fabrication” Held Non-actionable Opinion
Court finds letter was not written with actual malice
Zion v. NYP Holdings

D. Colo.: Ramsey Libel Suit Against Fox News Dismissed
Court holds broadcast was not defamatory under Colorado Law
Ramsey v. Fox News Network, LLC

Mich. App.: Professor Sued By Company for Posting Student’s “Ethics” Paper on the Web
Posting on web satisfied publication element
Bentech v. Oakland University

N.Y. App.: Dismissal of Libel Claims Against Albany Times Union Affirmed
Paper was sued by former district attorney/judge/state assemblyman
Proskin v. Hearst Corp.

S.D.N.Y.: NY Federal Court Dismisses Libel by Implication Claim
Court found article concerning property taxes was not capable of defamatory meaning
Seymour v. The Lakeville Journal Company, LLC


Ca. Sup. Ct.: News Organizations Continue to Battle for Access in People v. Michael Jackson
Coalition of media organizations seeks access to records and proceedings
People v. Jackson

D. Md.: The Sun Sues Maryland Governor for Banning Journalists
Paper argues ban against journalists is unconstitutional
The Baltimore Sun Co., et al. v. Ehrlich, Jr., et al.

S.D.N.Y.: NY Times Wins Release of OSHA Data Through FOIA Lawsuit
Government claimed information sought would take 15 years to review
New York Times v. U.S. Dept. of Labor

N.D. Ill.: NY Times Wins Access to Sealed Teamsters Records
Paper gains access to quarterly reports subject to limited redaction
Reich v. Fitzsimmons; Chao v. Fitzsimmons

N.Y. Sup. Ct.: NY Court Rejects Governor’s Executive Privilege Claim
Court denies motion to quash subpoena seeking documents related to land sale
In re Bueno, et al.

S.D.N.Y.: Court Won’t Bar Release of Libel Defendant’s Videotapes Deposition
Dominick Dunne sought protective order to avoid release of deposition
Condit v. Dunne


UK: Galloway Decision and “Responsible Journalism”
Court rejects qualified privilege and neutral reportage defenses
Galloway v. The Daily Telegraph

UK: Qualified Privilege Defense Rejected in Lance Armstrong’s Libel Suit
Article not responsible
Armstrong v. Times Newspapers Ltd & Others


8th Cir.: Eighth Circuit Hands New Victory to ISPs Resisting DMCA Subpoenas
ISPs not required to turn over personal information of “P2P” users
In re: Charter Communications, Inc. v. The Recording Industry of America, Inc.

W.D. Wa.: Copyright Claims Against Amazon Barred by DMCA
Corbis v., Inc.

W.D.N.C.: Court Rules Identity of Anonymous Poster Subject to Discovery
Court finds anonymity not warranted in light of “unlawful” speech
Alvis Coatings, Inc. v. John Does One Through Ten


Harris Poll: Americans Distrust Media More Than Europeans

FCC: Update – Former Reporters Challenge Station’s License Renewal

FCC: FCC Proposes $220,000 Fine for Radio Indecency