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January 2005

MediaLawLetter July 2005


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Legislative Update: Open Government Act, FOIA

Senate Judiciary Hearing on Federal Shield Law


D.D.C.: Appeals Exhausted, Miller Jailed for Contempt

D.C. Cir.: D.C. Circuit Upholds Contempt Citations of Four Journalists in Wen Ho Lee Matter
Court holds information sought from reporters goes to the “heart of the case”
Lee v. Dep’t of Justice

11th Cir.: Alabama Shield Law Does Not Protect Magazines
Court reverses order to compel on qualified privilege grounds
Price v. Time, Inc.

Cal. Ct. App.: Criminal Defendant Not Entitled to Pierce California Shield Law
Court rejected victim’s request to cross-examine reporter; conviction upheld
People v. Vasco


Kan. Dist. Ct.: Computer Plucked from Trash Leads to Prior Restraint Battle
Television station disobeys injunction by airing news report
Meredith Corp. d/b/a KCTV-5 v. Moriarty

Colo. Cir. Ct.: Judge Issues Prior Restraint Against Publishing Suspect’s Mug Shot Pending
Completion of Photo Line-up
Mug shot had already been released and posted on newspaper’s website

3d Cir.: Third Circuit Affirms Injunction Against “Tax Protestor” Website
False commercial speech on website not protected by First Amendment
United States v. Bell


7th Cir.: Seventh Cir. Affirms Decision for Chicago Sun-Times Against Michael Jordan’s Mistress
Court found statements about plaintiff subject to “innocent construction”
Knafel v. Chicago Sun-Times

8th Cir.: Eighth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment Over Air Safety Rating
Focusing on context of statements, court finds they do not support defamation claim
Aviation Charter, Inc. v. Aviation Research Group/US

5th Cir.: Fifth Circuit Affirms There’s No Jurisdiction Over German Publisher
Articles “effects” were felt in Germany and Switzerland
Fielding v. Hubert Burda Media, Inc.

10th Cir.: Tenth Circuit Affirms Lack of Jurisdiction Over Out-of-State Reporter
Court held defendant’s actions were not targeted at forum state
World Wide Association of Speciality Programs and Schools v. Houlahan

S.D.N.Y.: NY Court Dismisses Claims Against California Resident for Lack of Jurisdiction
Lawsuit arose over online bulletin board and website postings
McConnell v. Cummins

S.C. Ct. C.P.: Magazine’s Grill Review Well Done
Court grants directed verdict citing no proof of actual malice
Thermal Engineering Corp. v. Boston Common Press, Ltd.

Okla. Sup. Ct.: Okla. Sup. Ct. Denies Review of Reversal of Plaintiff’s Libel and Privacy Verdict
Court refuses case but withdraws appellate court decision from publication
Stewart v. The Oklahoma Publishing Co.

Va. Cir. Ct.: Jury Awards $60,150 to Woman in “Girls Gone Wild” Video
Suit was filed under Virginia’s misappropriation statute
Aficial v. Mantra Films

S.D. Cal.: Navy SEALs’ Privacy Claims Against AP Dismissed
Court dismisses claims over dissemination of photographs depicting possible prisoner abuse
Four Navy Seals v. Associated Press

Tex. App. Ct.: Summary Judgment for Financial Newsletter on Negligence Claims Affirmed on Appeal
Plaintiff claimed following financial advice did not lead to expected return
Reynolds v. Murphy

Tex.: Texas High Court Adopts New Liability Test for Headlines
Court created novel rule for reviewing headlines and leads for actual malice
Freedom Newspapers of Texas v. Cantu

E.D. Mich.: Michael Moore Bowls a Strike in ‘Columbine’ Film Libel Win
Statements concerning James Nichols were “factually and substantially true”
Nichols v. Moore

S.D. Fla.: Court Dismisses Federal Wiretapping and Fraud Claims Arising from Inside Edition Undercover Investigation
Genuine issue of material fact remains as to plaintiff’s trespass claim
Pitts Sales, Inc. v. King World Productions, Inc.

D. Minn.: Minnesota Court Dismisses Discrimination and Defamation Claims Against Newspapers and Broadcasters
Decision may be helpful to media facing claims over coverage of corporations
Dr. R.C. Samanta Roy Inst. Of Sci. and Tech. v. Star Tribune

D. Md.: Criminal’s Libel Suit Against National Geographic Dismissed
Statements were substantially true; fair and accurate account of government proceedings
Nanji v. National Geographic Society

N.J. Super. Ct.: Internet Posting Begins Statute of Limitations NJ Court Rules
Single publication rule applies to unchanged Internet content
Churchill v. State of New Jersey

N.J. App. Div.: NJ Court Limits Litigation Privilege Involving Media Entity
Letter to editor not covered by litigation privilege
Williams v. Kenney

Ohio App.: Ohio Appeals Court Reinstates Private Figure Libel Action Against TV Station
Court held jury could find report detailing allegations against private figure was negligent
Young v. Russ


E.C.H.R.: European Court of Human Rights Rejects Challenge to Irish Libel Award
Challenge was brought against guidance provided juries in determining awards
Independent News and Media and Independent Newspapers Ireland Ltd. v. Ireland

European Union: EU Parliament’s Last Minute Surprise Changes to “Rome II” Rescue Press Rights
An opportunity for U.S. press organizations to weigh in on pending EU legislation


2d Cir.: Second Circuit Rejects Trademark Claim Over Internet Pop Up Ads
Defendant’s “targeted advertising” does not violate Lanham Act
1-800 Contacts, Inc. v., Inc.


Ariz.: Ariz. Ct. Orders Dismissal of Lawsuit Arising from “Holy War” Letter to Editor 55
Letter did not amount to “incitement” or “fighting words”
Citizen Publ’g Co. v. Miller