Communications & Media Personal Injury

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Private Bankrolling of Defamation and Privacy Suits

The New York Times recently reported that famed Silicon Valley investor and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has been secretly bankrolling “Hulk Hogan’s” (real name Terry Bollea) invasion of privacy suit against Gawker Media....more

Social Links: Publishers claim ad blockers violate FTC rules; Twitter bags its “buy button”; has the IoT gone too far?

The Newspaper Association of America has filed a first-of-its-kind complaint with the FTC over certain ad blocking technologies. Is it “Internet” or “internet”? The Associated Press is about to change the capitalization...more

The Supreme Court Sends Spokeo Back

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided one of the Term’s most closely watched cases: Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. The 6-2 decision, while far from sweeping, creates a hurdle for plaintiffs in “no-injury” class actions....more

Congress acts on opioid drug epidemic as judge unseals OxyContin files

Here are some developments worth watching in the nation’s battle against the epidemic of opioid drug misuse that killed 28,000 Americans in 2014 alone...more

Convicted Felon’s Defamation Suit Triggers Multiple Anti-SLAPP Motions

In late March, David Pitts filed suit against two local television stations (Channels 4 and 7), their parent companies, and Patch Media, which runs hyperlocal websites. According to the Superior Court Complaint, Pitts was...more

Social Media Defamation: the #creeper decision

A dispute between suburban neighbours escalated and spilled over into social media when one of the neighbours vented on Facebook. The Facebook posts suggested that the plaintiff was a “nutter” and a “creep” who deployed a...more

Debt collector, Portfolio Recovery Associates, to pay $18 million to settle TCPA violations

Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC (Portfolio Recovery) agreed to pay $18 million to end multi-district litigation against the debt collection company for its alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)....more

Paul Watler Speaks: Texas Supreme Court Opinions Firm Up Anti-SLAPP Rights For Online Journalists

Online journalists and scholars from the Americas and around the globe recently gathered at the University of Texas at Austin to assess the state of internet-based journalism. The keynote address of the 16th annual...more

Location, Location, Location: Fraud Suit Filed Against Anheuser-Busch Over 'Abbey' Beer

As anyone in real estate will tell you, location matters. Apparently, location also matters when it comes to selecting a beer. Recently, a purchaser of Leffe Beers brought a class action lawsuit in Florida federal court...more

DC Court of Appeals Affirms February 2012 Denial of Anti-SLAPP Motion in Newmyer v. Huntington

Waaaaaaay back in early 2012, after a defendant (Huntington) filed a counterclaim against a plaintiff (Newmyer) for defamation, false light and related torts, Newmyer responded by filing an anti-SLAPP motion. Newmyer’s...more

Essure Has Caused 303 Fetal Deaths, Independent Analysis

A gross discrepancy in the number of fetal deaths attributed to the birth control device Essure has prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to analyze the data and decide whether to change the way the product is...more

Social Media Fail: Sometimes Even Employers Memorialize Bad Decisions on the Internet

Don’t deny it: you scroll through your social media feeds past the mundane photos, click-bait, and “humble brags” in search of explosive drama. Eventually, you might land on a status update from one of the reliable...more

Employer Not Responsible for Employee Defaming Customer on Facebook

In Howard v. Hertz Global Holdings, Inc., a Hawaiian Federal Court found that Hertz Rent-a-Car could not be held responsible for its employee’s Facebook comments about one of its customers. While employers should welcome the...more

Second Circuit Decision Creates Circuit Split and Could Impact Pending DC Appeal

An important decision issued by the Second Circuit last week adds to the growing dissonance among the federal circuits on anti-SLAPP motions.  The ruling could impact a case pending before the DC Court of Appeals, and creates...more

Ninth Circuit Finds First Amendment Protects Against Right Of Publicity Claim Involving Film “The Hurt Locker”

The Ninth Circuit has confirmed that right of publicity claims purporting to arise from expressive works, like films, are content-based restrictions on speech that are presumptively unconstitutional, and generally should not...more

Sarver v. Chartier (USCA, Ninth Circuit, February 17, 2016 )

Ninth Circuit affirms district court’s dismissal of Army sergeant’s lawsuit alleging that main character in film “The Hurt Locker” was based on his experiences without his consent, holding that film spoke to issues of public...more

Defamation: Internet Crisis Control

Arriving at his warehouse last week Knott Faire, owner of Faire Carpet Cleaning, discovered yet another complaining critique posted on WELP: “Lots of hype, a mediocre cleaning and a hassle at the end. Don’t get tied up with...more

Oklahoma Appellate Court Rules New anti-SLAPP Statute Does Not Apply Retroactively

From the state “where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain” comes an appellate decision that might seem familiar to readers of this blog. In March 2013, three Oklahoma plaintiffs filed suit against a media entity,...more

California’s Correction Statute Amended to Protect Online and Weekly Publications

The California Legislature recently amended Civil Code § 48a to make clear that California’s correction statute applies to weekly and online publications performing the same news-disseminating function as a daily newspaper,...more

Bar upholds lawyer’s constitutional right to blog about untruthful witness

A Michigan lawyer may write about the untruthful testimony of an “expert” medical witness because his online blog post and his comments are protected speech under the First Amendment, officials from the Michigan Bar have...more

Rehitching the Horse: Oregon Court of Appeals Adjusts the Anti-SLAPP Cart

Although Oregon is in its 15th year of anti-SLAPP litigation under a decidedly robust statute, no Oregon appellate court had ruled on how to decide when Oregon’s anti-SLAPP statute applies until the recent decision in Mullen...more

Is There a “Classic” SLAPP Case?

One of the interesting things about the Doe v. Burke II appeal is the Superior Court’s reasoning that, although the complaint was dismissed under the DC anti-SLAPP statute, no attorneys’ fees were warranted because the case...more

Celebrity Trademark Watch: Who Owns Marilyn Monroe’s Image? – Right of Publicity vs. Trademark Rights

In her posthumously published autobiography, My Story, screen legend Marilyn Monroe wrote: “I knew I belonged to the public and to the world, not because I was talented or even beautiful but because I had never belonged to...more

Will the Zippo sliding scale for Internet jurisdiction slide into oblivion?

Though Internet communications seem to occur in a mystical electronic ether (which we once called cyberspace), authors of Internet messages can be held accountable for them in that very traditional physical place known as a...more

Go Fish: Do General Discovery Rules Apply to a Litigant’s Facebook Posts?

While discovery of social media information has been commonplace for some time, courts are still struggling with when such discovery should be allowed. While courts generally hold that normal discovery rules apply to social...more

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