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January 2004

MediaLawLetter March 2004


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Legislative: Broadcast Decency Continued
Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act, International Free Press and Open Media Act


S.Ct.: Supreme Court Denies Cert. in Libel Suit Against ADL
Anti-Defamation League v. Quigley


E.D.Pa.: NY Times Wins Libel By Implication Trial
Times found at fault for defamatory implication, but plaintiff suffered no actual harm
Franklin Prescriptions, Inc. v. The New York Times

N.Y Sup. Ct.: Anti-SLAPP Applied in Media Libel Case
Court dismisses complaint, awards compensatory and punitive damages to defendant newspaper
Duane Reade, Inc. v. Patrick Clark and the Wave Publishing Co.

D. Or.: Oregon Federal Court Applies Anti-SLAPP Statute in Media Case
Court adopted a very broad reading of the scope of state statute
Douglas Card v. Daniel Pipes and Jonathan Schanzer

N.Y. Sup. Ct.: Records Sealed in Libel Action Must be Unsealed at Summary Judgment Stage
Potential embarrassment insufficient cause to continue sealing filed documents
Visentin v. Haldane Central School District, et al.

Mich. App.: Quoting Opponent in Fundraising Letter Not Misappropriation
Defendant public policy group’s letter falls within public interest
Battaglieri v. Mackinac Center for Public Policy

D. Nev.: Gennifer Flowers’ Case Against Former Clinton Officials Dismissed
Court grants summary judgment in favor of Carville, Stephanopoulos, and Little, Brown & Co.
Flowers v. Carville, et al.

E.D.Pa.: Patients Online Complaints Not Actionable Under Lanham Act
Court dismisses case, focuses on defendant’s lack of commercial interest
Nevyas v. Morgan

Colo. Ct. App.: Court of Appeals Reverses Summary Judgment in Seven-Year-Old Radio Libel Case
Court reinstates libel and related claims
Gordon v. Boyles

W.D. Wash.: False Light Under Washington Law – Harris v. City of Seattle
Court grants summary judgment to KING Broadcasting – plaintiff failed to show actual malice
Harris v. City of Seattle, et al.

Ohio. App.: Ohio Appellate Court Reinstates Libel Claims Against Akron Beacon Journal
Questions as to accuracy of notes used for article can support actual malice finding
Murray v. Knight-Ridder Inc.

Ohio. App.: Editorial Calling Former Mayor a “Convicted Felon” Is Protected Opinion in Ohio
Statement was protected opinion under totality of the circumstances test
Grabow v. King Media Enterprises, Inc.

Ala.: State Supreme Affirms Dismissal of Libel Claim Against Newspaper Commentary
Court rejects argument that off-duty officer should not be subject to actual malice standard
Smith v. The Huntsville Times Company, Inc.


S.D.N.Y.: Eyewitness Observations of Journalists Protected under First Amendment
Court held qualified privilege extended to all information covered by reporter for story
Michael Carter, et al. v. The City of New York

Ohio. App.: Court Affirms Order Requiring Radio News Director to Disclose Confidential Source
Defendant failed to show she fell within state’s statute that granting absolute privilege
Svoboda v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc.

Mass. App.: Appeals Court Reverses Ruling that Newspaper Reveal Confidential Source
Court holds plaintiff must show “essential relationship” between sources and claim
Wojcik v. Boston Herald, Inc.

D.R.I.: Investigative Reporter Held in Contempt for Failure to Disclose Confidential Source
Judge orders $1,000-a-day penalty until journalist complies with order
In re Special Proceedings


Pennsylvania: News Station’s Internet Sex Sting Leads to Public Safety Complaints
Community residents contemplate class action suit against station

Ohio: Cleveland Television Station Sues for Access to City Sources, Mayor Settles
Station claimed mayor barred officials from talking to them in retaliation for earlier report

New York: New York to Make Case Information Available on the Internet
Chief judge adopts recommendations of Commission on Public Access to Court Records

U.S.: Department of Homeland Security Issues Critical Infrastructure Protection Rules
Temporarily pulls back from provision that would have covered more agencies

Fla. Cir. Ct.: Court Embraces Constitutional Right of Access to Executed Search Warrants
Reverses lower court order sealing search warrants against producers of Girls Gone Wild series
Florida Freedom Newspapers, Inc. v. State


Cal. App.: Update: DVD Copy Control Association Inc. v. Bunner
Court finds injunction not properly issued because trade secrets were widely disseminated


Va.: Virginia Supreme Court Rules on Constitutionality of Cross Burning Statute
Court upholds state statute, but strikes down provision making act prima facie evidence of intent
Elliott v. Commonwealth of Virginia

FCC: FCC Fines Radio Broadcasters; Decides “F-Word” is Indecent
March 18 Order puts broadcasters on notice that isolated use of F-Word will lead to fines
Infinity Broadcasting, Clear Channel incur penalties for airing indecent programs


10th Cir.: Tenth Circuit Upholds the Constitutionality of the National “Do-Not-Call” Registry
Court concludes that agencies’ rules are valid commercial speech regulations
Mainstream Marketing Services, Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission

Cal. App.: Advertisements for Movies Are Unprotected Commercial Speech
Court rules that movie ad does not fall within California anti-SLAPP statute
Rezec v. Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc.

Cal:. ANALYSIS: California Wrestles with Commercial Speech After Kasky v. Nike

U.S.: Treasury Department Regulations Threaten Publishing Activities
OFAC to require license authorizing basic editing of scholarly articles by foreign nationals from embargoed countries


U.K.: English Trial Court Rejects Qualified Privilege Defense in Jameel v. WSJ Europe
Trends in UK suggest standards for journalist are being set too high, chilling speech
Jameel v. The Wall Street Journal Europe

U.K.: Fleet Street Lawyers Program Explores Terror-Link Libel Claims in England
Group asks audience to rule on hypothetical story linking politician and terrorists

Japan: Prior Restraint Imposed on Japanese Magazine in Privacy Claim
Former Foreign Minister’s daughter obtains injunction barring further distribution of story