MediaLawLetter September 2022
Judge William Bertelsman awarded summary judgment to several media defendants (The New York Times, CBS, ABC, Gannett, and Rolling Stone) in a series of long-running defamation cases brought by Nicholas Sandmann.
A federal judge dismissed a libel claim against The New York Times and its former reporter brought by an agent for social media influencers, finding that most of the allegedly defamatory statements were non-actionable and that the agent failed to sufficiently allege actual malice.
“CNN accurately reported what [Dr. Immanuel] had said and the positions that government agencies and others had taken on medication for COVID,” reads the opinion.
The court held that the allegedly defamatory statements at issue failed to state a defamation claim as the statements were both substantially true and protected under Wisconsin’s true and fair reporting of a judicial proceeding privilege.
A Maryland trial court held that a rabbi became a limited public figure by hiring a reputation management consultant to digitally suppress negative content about him online and promote unrelated positive content.
The term “right wing propaganda” in the context of the article was a constitutionally protected opinion and a statutorily privileged fair comment on a matter of public concern.
After finding that ShotSpotter had failed to state a claim on fair report, opinion, and truth grounds, the Court nevertheless proceeded to hold that ShotSpotter’s 413-page Complaint failed to adequately allege actual malice.
The suit demanded $250,000,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, which Judge O’Malley found signified retaliatory intent necessary to establish a SLAPP.
A pair of recent decisions from a New Jersey trial court highlights the state’s strong legal protections for freedom of speech and the press.
The court had no difficulty concluding the article was a matter of legitimate public concern, a fair report of the prior proceedings, and published without actual malice. The significance of the decision, however, also lies in its approach to the recovery of legal fees under the New York SLAPP statute.
A D.C. federal judge has issued a groundbreaking Freedom of Information Act ruling in favor of the Washington Post, agreeing that the public has a "strong interest” in learning the names of retired U.S. military personnel who go to work for foreign governments and how much they get paid.
Judge Finds Virginia Obscenity Statute Unconstitutional and Dismisses Attempt to Have Two Books Declared ObsceneNicole Bergstrom and Molly G. Rothschild
A judge found Virginia’s obscenity law unconstitutional and dismissed Petitions seeking to have two books, A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maasand Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, found obscene.
A consideration of the role that editorial discretion and content moderation play in the marketplace of ideas.