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October 2022

MediaLawLetter October 2022

in this issue

MLRC and the Pandemic: Great Opportunities Amidst Crisis

George Freeman

MLRC's Covid-era Zoom calls have featured prominent speakers, timely journalistic issues, cutting-edge legal matters, and some just plain fun topics to discuss.


Catholic Church Subpoena for Berkshire Eagle’s Confidential Sources

Jeffrey J. Pyle

On October 3, a Massachusetts Superior Court judge issued a revised order protecting Berkshire Eagle investigations editor Larry Parnass – at least for now – from having to identify his confidential sources for a story about clergy sex abuse in western Massachusetts.

Journalist Jim DeRogatis Avoids Having to Testify in R. Kelly Criminal Trial

Damon E. Dunn and Seth A. Stern

The federal judge presiding over the recent criminal trial of singer R. Kelly in Chicago quashed a defense subpoena for the testimony of Jim DeRogatis, the journalist and author who first exposed R. Kelly’s abuse of young women.

Judge SLAPPs “Brooklyn Land Shark” Suit Against Daily News

Matthew Leish

Is it defamatory to refer to a real estate investor who has been repeatedly sued for taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners as a “Land Shark” who has been slammed as “a wolf preying on sellers”?  A New York state trial judge has answered that question with a resounding “no.”

Federal Court Dismisses Tara Reade’s Privacy Suit Against New York Times

Al-Amyn Sumar

The court granted The Times’s motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) and to strike the claims under California’s anti-SLAPP law.

N.C. Court of Appeals Affirms Dismissal of Libel Suit Against WRAL

Mary Aline Fertin

The Court of Appeals of North Carolina affirmed the dismissal of a libel suit against WRAL over its coverage of Crystal Mangum’s murder conviction.

Colorado Trial Court Dismisses Baseless Libel Suit Against Newspaper

Steven D. Zansberg

A state trial court judge granted the anti-SLAPP motion of the Northglenn-Thornton Sentinel newspaper and dismissed a libel suit brought by a pro se plaintiff who claimed he was defamed by an article recounting his run-ins with the law arising from his protests at two Islamic religious centers.

Hawaiʻi Third State To Pass Uniform Protection for Public Expression Act

Denise Antolini and Jeff Portnoy

The new law represents a major gain for civil rights particularly at a time when independent-minded media and public interests groups are outgunned by well-oiled capitalists and dark money. 


Connecticut Supreme Court Allows Defamation Action Based on Public Hearing Statements

Alexa Millinger

Giving new analysis to the well-accepted rule that statements in quasi-judicial proceedings cannot be the basis for defamation, the Connecticut Supreme Court held that a party could maintain a defamation action for statements made in a planning and zoning commission public hearing.

New York Court Upholds First Amendment Right of Access to Jury Selection in Upcoming Trump Trial

Robert  Balin and Jesse Feitel

Judge Gonzalez appears to be the first New York state court judge to recognizing a presumptive First Amendment right of the public and press to attend jury selection in civil trials.

Ohio Senate Candidate Can Run, But Not Hide

Darren Ford and Jack Greiner

Can a candidate for the United States Senate from Ohio and his soon to be ex-wife file a divorce action in a county in which neither resides and have a compliant judge issue an order prospectively sealing the entire case record? Spoiler alert, the answer is no.


Australia’s Trial of the Century: Ben Roberts-Smith v. Fairfax Media

Peter Bartlett

Australian lawyer gives context about complex case pitting Australia’s most decorated soldier against experienced journalists who allege he committed war crimes in Afghanistan.