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January 2005

MediaLawLetter March 2005


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In Remembrance: Ralph Elliot

Legislative Update: Shield Law, FOIA Bills & Indecency

Ethics Corner: “E-Advice”: Lawyers, Chat Rooms, and Ethics


Cal. Super. Ct.: California Court Allows Apple to Seek Confidential Source of Leaked Trade Secrets
Court declines to determine whether “bloggers” qualify as journalists
Apple Computer, Inc. v. Doe

D.C. Cir.: Plame Update: Media Coalition Changes Tack on Motion for Rehearing
Court urged to focus on whether crime has been committed

Conn. & Tex.: Connecticut and Texas Legislators Introduce Shield Law Bills
State bills vary in their protection of journalists


U.S.: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Argument in Cochran v. Tory Libel Case
First libel case heard by Court since 1991
Cochran v. Tory

Texas: Summary Judgment for Newspaper in Public Official Libel Case
Court finds lack of actual malice in action brought by prosecutors
The Hearst Corp., d/b/a The Houston Chronicle Publ’g Co. v. Skeen

Cal.: California Supreme Court Tosses Verdict Over Net Speech
Appeal from denial of anti-SLAPP motion acts as stay of trial proceedings
Varian Medical Systems, Inc. v. Delfino

Wash.: Washington Supreme Court Rules for Media in Defamation by Omission Action
Court reinstates summary judgment for media over series of broadcasts
Mohr v. Grant

5th Cir.: 5th Cir. Affirms Dismissal of “Jackpot Justice” Lawsuit Brought Against 60 Minutes
Court holds broadcast was not “of and concerning” the plaintiffs
Gales v. CBS Broadcasting Inc.

7th Cir.: 7th Cir. Rejects False Light Invasion of Privacy Suit Based on Photo in Mob Book
Court affirms use of photograph did not cast plaintiff in false light
Raveling v. HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

D.D.C.: Federal Court Grants TRO on Misappropriation Claims Over Advocacy Ad
Court found plaintiffs substantially likely to succeed on misappropriation claim
Raymen v. United Senior Association, Inc.

D. Mass.: Federal Court Dismisses Libel-by-Juxtaposition Claim Arising from Boston Magazine Article on Teen Sex
Magazine defendant’s use of a disclaimer shields it from liability
Stanton v. Metro Corp.

Conn. Super. Ct.: Court Freezes Defendant’s Assets in Public Official Libel Suit
Connecticut law allows for prejudgment remedy in defamation action
Burgess v. Marino

Cal. Ct. App.: California Court of Appeals Rejects Magazine’s Anti-SLAPP Motion
Court focuses on plaintiff’s status as a “non-celebrity”
Santini v. American Media, Inc. et al.

N.D. Ga.: Georgia District Court Dismisses Creationist’s Defamation Lawsuit Against Penn &Teller’s “Bullshit” Cable Television Show
Court holds statements concerning plaintiffs were not false
Brock v. Viacom

Mo. Ct. App.: Missouri Appellate Panel Rejects Defamation Action Based on Flyer
Court holds “trash terrorist” cannot support claim for defamation
Diehl v. Kintz

Va. Cir. Ct.: Default Verdict in Virginia for Refusal to Allow Computer Inspection
$2,500 award one of several recent defaults for refusal to reveal sources
Burcham v. McClure


2d Cir.: Second Circuit Holds Ban on Publication of Juror Names Unconstitutional
Order in Quattrone case violated the First Amendment
United States v. Quattrone

U.S.: Florida Broadcaster Seeks Supreme Court Stay of Trial Court’s Prior Restraint Order
Broadcaster ordered not to publish information from grand jury transcript
Multimedia Holdings, Inc. d/b/a First Coast News v. Circuit Court of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, State of Florida

11th Cir.: 11th Cir. Strikes Down FL Statute Prohibiting Disclosure of Police Complaint Information
Courts holds statute is a content-based restriction on speech
Cooper v. Dillon

Ca. Super. Ct.: Jay Leno Prevails in His Attempt to Clarify Gag Order in People v. Jackson
Comedian not barred from making general comments on case
People v. Jackson


2d Cir.: National Geographic CD-ROM Collection Is a Permitted Revision
Second Circuit ruling provides guidance on collective works in the digital age
Faulkner v. Nat’l Geographic Soc’y


A.C.C.A.: Court Holds Blanket Closure of Court-Martial Proceeding Was Unlawful
Court rules unclassified testimony must be given in open court
Denver Post Corp. v. United States

Va. Super. Ct.: Vermont Court Dismisses Declaratory Judgment Action Over Meeting Law Violation
Holds Sunshine Law was violated; refuses relief sought by newspaper
Times Argus Association v. Town of Moretown

E.D.N.Y.: Organized Crime Reporter Wins Access to Mob Trial Tapes
Court holds right of duplication accompanies right of access
United States v. Massino

Pa. Ct. C.P.: Pennsylvania Court Allows Partial Release of Heinz Estate Documents
Court grants newspapers’ petition seeking to modify order sealing estate files
In re Petition to Unseal Records of the Estate of H. John Heinz, III


FCC: FCC Tempers Move Toward Strict Liability in Indecency Decisions
Recent decisions reveal focus on context of alleged indecency


Canada: Canadian Court Hears Bangoura Appeal
Washington Post and media coalition look to reverse jurisdiction ruling
Bangoura v. Washington Post