Category Archives: First Amendment

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An Update To Our Prior Post: The Eleventh Circuit Rules That Georgia’s Anti-SLAPP Does Not Apply In Federal Court. Supreme Court, Here We Come?

Last year, we posted that a Georgia federal court held, in a lawsuit against CNN, that Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute had no application in federal court.  CNN appealed that decision and, last Thursday, the Eleventh Circuit agreed with the trial court and held that Georgia’s anti-SLAPP law does not apply in federal court.  The case is Carbone … Continue Reading

Trump Awarded Nearly $300,000 In Attorney’s Fees And Costs Following His Successful Anti-SLAPP Motion Against Stormy Daniels

We previously posted about President Donald Trump’s successful use of the First Amendment in bringing an anti-SLAPP against Stormy Daniels based on her claim of defamation.  On October 15, 2018, Stormy appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit.  The lawsuit is Stephanie Clifford v. Donald J. Trump, et al., Case No. 18-cv-06893-SJO (FFMx) in the … Continue Reading

The Results Are In: First Amendment Soundly Defeats Claims Regarding Allegedly Defamatory Campaign Advertisements

On November 6, 2018, Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Courtney Goodson was elected to remain in her position with the Arkansas Supreme Court.  Her victory undoubtedly softened the blow of being denied a preliminary injunction seeking to stop an attack advertising campaign levied against her by the Republican State Leadership Committee – Judicial Fairness Initiative, … Continue Reading

Trump Uses First Amendment To Avoid Liability In Defamation Action

October 15, 2018 – Blanketing Himself In First Amendment Protections, Trump Wins Dismissal of Stormy Daniels’ Defamation Suit October 16, 2018 – Prominent Nonprofit Sues Trump For Using His Presidential Powers To Violate The First Amendment  On October 15, 2018, U.S. District Judge James S. Otero of the Central District of California issued an order dismissing the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Superior Court Quashes Subpoena to CBS under California’s Press Shield Law

Austin Harrouff faces two counts of first degree murder in Florida for the fatal stabbings of John Stevens and Michelle Mishcon on August 15, 2016.  The case was widely publicized after police investigators said that when they apprehended Harrouff, he was on top of Stevens, biting his face. Ever since, Harrouff’s attorneys have been involved … Continue Reading

California’s Revenge Porn Statutes

Several members of the University of Central Florida chapter of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity were recently sued, along with the fraternity itself, by a woman claiming that the fraternity operated a secret Facebook group where members uploaded images and video of private sexual encounters for other fraternity members to see.  The case is Kathryn … Continue Reading

Minnesota Court of Appeals Extends Fair Report Privilege to Stories that Accurately Summarize Police Press Conferences and Press Releases

The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that the “fair-report privilege” protects the media against defamation claims for news reports that accurately summarize official press conferences held by law enforcement or law enforcement agencies’ official press releases.  The fair report privilege is a broad privilege afforded to the press to publish defamatory statements so long … Continue Reading

Without Doubt, Anonymous Sources Do Not Equate to Actual Malice

On April 25, 2018, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Venezuela’s “Number Two” politician’s, Diosdado Cabello-Rondon (“Cabello”), libel suit against Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (“Dow Jones”). The suit stems from a Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) article titled “Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub.” See José de Córdoba … Continue Reading

New York Defamation Suit Against Trump To Proceed: The public response to an accusation of sexual misconduct may give rise to a defamation claim

On March 20, 2018, a New York state judge held that Summer Zervos, a former contestant on the reality television show The Apprentice, can move forward with her defamation suit against President Trump in Zervos v. Trump, No. 150522/17 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Mar. 20, 2018).  The ruling illustrates both that a sitting President is not … Continue Reading

Strong Shield Law Protections for Journalists in California and Across the Country

There has been a series of cases in recent months involving attempts by the government to expose journalists’ confidential sources of information.  These cases tend to follow a familiar pattern: the government seeks the identity of a reporter’s source of information and the reporter (or media company) asserts a journalist’s First Amendment protection from being … Continue Reading

Storytellers and Artists May Continue To Rejoice – Feud: Bette and Joan Is Fully Protected By The First Amendment

On March 26, 2018, the California Court of Appeal filed its opinion in De Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC concerning FX’s docudrama Feud: Bette and Joan.  The De Havilland opinion is yet another good one for filmmakers and television producers.  The California Court of Appeal reiterated that the First Amendment provides a powerful defense for … Continue Reading

Saved By Punctuation: James Woods Escapes Liability With A Question Mark

A federal judge in the Southern District of Ohio recently dismissed a case against actor James Woods over a tweet he posted during the 2016 presidential campaign.  Woods, the outspoken conservative actor best known for his roles in Casino, Once Upon A Time In America, and Ghosts of Mississippi (for which he received an Oscar … Continue Reading

Religion, Kombucha, and the First Amendment: California Court of Appeal Affirms Dismissal of Defamation Claim Against Web Publisher

The California Court of Appeal issued a recent ruling with interesting ramifications for media, entertainment, and First Amendment practitioners.  The decision by the Second District Court of Appeal, though unpublished, has further shown how California courts will determine media companies’ liability for defamation, specifically in situations where web publishers host articles written by independent contractors. … Continue Reading

Motion for Reconsideration Filed in Sarah Palin’s Defamation Case Against the New York Times

Sarah Palin’s attorneys are trying to salvage her defamation claim against the New York Times – which was dismissed with prejudice by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York only one month ago – by filing a new motion for reconsideraton criticizing the judge’s early-stage evidentiary hearing and subsequent decision … Continue Reading

Palin v. The New York Times Co.: Newspaper Mounts Robust Defense to Defamation Lawsuit

The New York Times is defending itself against a defamation lawsuit brought by former Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, as the newspaper asserted in a recent motion to dismiss that the statements alleged as defamatory in Palin’s complaint are not actionable as defamation and that Palin has not plausibly pled actual … Continue Reading

Defamation Law Series: Texas Court Holds that “Rhetorical Flourishes” In Article Do Not Support Defamation Claim

The Texas Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas recently dismissed defamation claims against a Dallas magazine, finding that although a headline and article could be interpreted as criticism of a former symphony orchestra volunteer, the statements functioned as non-actionable opinions. In September 2013, D Magazine published an article titled: “The Talented Mr. Reyes: How a … Continue Reading

Defamation Law Series: Melania Trump Settles Her Libel Lawsuit Against Daily Mail

First Lady Melania Trump reportedly has settled her lawsuit against the British tabloid newspaper, Daily Mail, for about $2.9 million plus costs. Mrs. Trump originally filed her lawsuit in September 2016 in Maryland based on allegations that Daily Mail, among others, had republished defamatory statements when it reported rumors that she had previously worked as … Continue Reading

Defamation Law Series: California Court of Appeal SLAPPS Several Claims Asserted Against Boxer Floyd Mayweather

The California Court of Appeal recently dismissed several claims asserted against the famous professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., by his ex-fiancé, Shantel Jackson. Mayweather and Jackson had been involved in an on-again, off-again romantic relationship.  Jackson alleged that she had ended her relationship with Mayweather after he had become violent on several occasions.  Before the … Continue Reading

Stop The Press’s Anti-SLAPP: Federal Judge In Georgia Denies CNN’s Motion To Strike In Defamation Suit

A federal court in the Northern District of Georgia recently denied CNN’s motion to strike in a defamation lawsuit, ruling that Georgia’s anti-SLAPP statute has no application in federal court.  This places the court on the side of the D.C. Circuit and squarely against the First, Fifth, and Ninth Circuits, which have all applied state … Continue Reading

The California Court Of Appeal Weighs In: The Development And Production Of An Entertainment Program Is Protected Under The Anti-SLAPP Statute

In a recent 50-page published opinion, the California Court of Appeal determined that offensive and derogatory language on a movie set was protected activity under the anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (or anti-SLAPP) statute because the conduct was part of the behind-the-scenes process for making a movie. The case pitted Marlon Wayans – an actor … Continue Reading

Defamation Law Series: Court Affirms Dismissal Of Claims Against Actor Marlon Wayans

In Daniel v. Wayans, The California Court of Appeal recently affirmed a trial court’s decision to grant actor Marlon Wayans’ anti-SLAPP motion against Pierre Daniel. Daniel worked as an extra on the movie A Haunted House 2, which starred Wayans.  Daniel filed suit against Wayans and others asserting a number of claims, based in part … Continue Reading

Defamation Law Series: Massachusetts District Court Tosses Katherine McKee’s Claims Against Bill Cosby

Last week, on February 16, 2017, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed Katherine McKee’s claims against Bill Cosby in McKee v. Cosby. McKee was among the women who alleged that Cosby had sexually assaulted her.  In her lawsuit against Cosby, McKee claimed that after she shared her story in an … Continue Reading

Defamation Series: Texas Supreme Court Explains That Courts Should Not Make Editorial Decisions For The Media Re Information Related To Matters Of Public Concern

In Texas, Plaintiff Wade Brady brought claims for libel and libel per se against Carter Publications, Inc., publisher of the newspaper West Fort Bend Star, and one of its writers, LeaAnne Klentzman.  Wade alleged that the defendants published an article in a “malicious” attempt to portray him as a criminal who used his the connections … Continue Reading
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