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January 2004

MediaLawLetter October 2004


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In Remembrance: Richard Schmidt 1924-2004

Conference: Thanks to All NAA/NAB/MLRC Media Law Attendees

First Amendment Leadership Award to Harry M. Johnston III

MLRC Bulletin Examines Motions to Dismiss in Media Cases
Motions may be winning strategy in libel and privacy suits

Mock Trial: The Use of Mock Trial Focus Groups for Trial Preparation
Conference presentation highlights benefits of employing mock juries

Legislative Update: National Defense, Open Gov’t, Video Voyeurism

Ethics Corner: Attorneys’ Duty to Conduct An Informal Electronic Discovery Project


S.D.N.Y.: New York Times Suit Seeks to Block Government from Obtaining Reporters’ Phone Records
The Times argues against compelled disclosure of confidential sources
NYT v. Ashcroft

D.D.C.: Reporters Held in Contempt in Plame Leak Investigation
Miller and Cooper face possible jail time in Plame investigation
In re: Special Counsel Investigation

Or. App. Ct.: Oregon Appeals Court Reinstates Libel Claim
Court rules media shield law inapplicable to nonparty reporter
Brown v. Gatti


Supreme Court: U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Libel Case Addressing the Availability and Breadth of Injunctions
First libel case to be heard by Supreme Court in 13 years
Tory v. Cochran

Supreme Court: Tory v. Cochran Media Amicus Effort
Media involvement sought to argue against prior restraints

Pa. Sup. Ct.: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rejects Neutral Reportage Privilege
Court finds no constitutional basis supports such privilege
Norton v. Glenn

C.D. Cal.: ABC Wins Hidden Camera Trial
Jury rejects claims over filming actors’ workshops
Turnbull v. ABC

Conn. App. Ct.: Connecticut Appellate Court Recognizes Fair Report Privilege
Court recognizes fair report privilege
Burton v. American Lawyer Media, Inc.

Cal. Sup. Ct.: California Supreme Court Hears Case on Private Facts-Rehabilitation Precedent
Defendant challenges “rehabilitation” exception to publication of public facts
Gates v. Discovery Communications

N.D. Sup. Ct.: North Dakota Supreme Court Rejects Candidate’s Libel Claim
Reports of wife beating and falsifying financial information were fair report
Riemers v. Grand Forks Herald

N.Y. App. Ct.: No Libel by Omission Under New York’s Fair Report Privilege
Omission of information concerning federal court cases does not vitiate privilege
McDonald v. East Hampton Star

Cal. App. Ct.: Past Activity Sufficient to Support Defense of Truth
Evidence of past “pimping activity” relevant to libel claim
Hughes v. Hughes

S.D.N.Y.: Default Judgment for Discovery Abuse in Non-Media Case
Labor union sanctioned for failure to comply with discovery procedures
Metropolitan Opera Association, Inc. v. Local 100, Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union


2d Cir.: Second Circuit Recognizes Individual’s Right of Access to Court
First Amendment rights apply to individuals as well as media
Huminski v. Corsones


9th Cir.: Ninth Circuit Allows Idea Theft Case to Proceed Under California State Law
Idea theft claim may proceed even after dismissal of copyright claim
Grosso v. Miramax Film Corp.


C.D. Cal.: Court Dismisses Fair Housing Law Claims Against Website
Court holds CDA Section 230 applicable to
Fair Housing Council of San Fernando Valley v., LLC

Cal. Sup. Ct.: California Supreme Court to Consider Scope of Sec. 230 Immunity
Court will decide issue of immunity for interactive computer services
Grace v. eBay, Inc.

1st Cir.: First Circuit to Rehear E-mail Privacy Decision
Court grapples with application of Wiretap Act
U.S. v. Councilman


U.K.: Don King’s Libel Suit Against NY Lawyer Goes Forward in London
Case holds important implications for jurisdiction based on Internet statements
King v. Burstein

U.K.: House of Lords Lifts Prior Restraint Against Two Newspapers
Discusses standards for restraints in breach of confidence cases
Cream Holdings Ltd. & Ors v. Banerjee & Ors

U.K.: Saudi Bank Withdraws Claim in London Against Wall Street Journal
Claim dropped after publication of plaintiff’s letter to the editor
Al Rajhi Banking & Investment Corp. v. Wall Street Journal Europe

Australia: Uniform Libel Laws for Australia?
New majority increases chance of legislation

Australia: Gutnick v. Dow Jones Settled
Defendant does not pay damages or make a formal retraction
Gutnick v. Dow Jones

Latin America: Inter-American Court Rules for Defendants in Two Criminal Defamation Cases
Decisions valuable to journalists in avoiding criminal libel prosecutions
Herrera Ulloa v. Costa Rica, Canese v. Paraguay


Supreme Court: Court Declines to Hear Morris v. PGA
Publisher brought novel anti-trust claim over score reporting restriction
Morris Communications Corp. v. PGA Tour, Inc.

Mo.: Missouri Enacts Anti-SLAPP Act
Act appears to cover media reports made “in connection with” public proceedings

Nationwide: Anti-SLAPP Statutes Now Adopted in 23 Jurisdictions
Statues may help secure early dismissal in actions against the media

Survey: Surveys Gauge Public’s Attitudes on Confidential Sources, Media Credibility
Support for use of confidential sources, doubts about the accuracy

S.D.N.Y.: Publishers and Authors Sue to Lift Trade Embargoes on Publishing Works From Cuba, Iran, Sudan
Regulations impose ban on books from disfavored nations