Communications & Media Personal Injury

Read need-to-know updates, commentary, and analysis on Communications & Media issues written by leading professionals.
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Risqué Contest Sponsor Sued by Contestant’s Family After Promotion Fatality

This month, contest sponsor PKG Investments LLC d/b/a “Fire & Ice” and others were sued in a Santa Fe, New Mexico County Court by the family of a woman who choked to death during a racy, on-premises corn dog eating contest...more

Third Circuit Finds Photo Placement Sufficient to Permit Defamation, False Light Claims to Go Forward in Suit Alleging Harm from...

In a case demonstrating the difficulties of applying long-established but arguably outdated legal principles to modern technology, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week reversed itself to permit a...more

Sex and the Stock Photo*

Despite the high heat of summer, two federal courts have blown a chill wind through the law of online defamation. The courts gave the green light to libel suits over alleged implications from stock or file photos illustrating...more

Keeping Pokémon Go cyber fun from causing real-world liability

Noses buried in their smart phones, armies of Pokémon Go players scour neighborhoods in search of elusive cyber monsters lurking in real locations identified by the wildly popular game. Seeing a way to “lure” (in Pokemon Go...more

Social Links: Twitter’s tough quarter; Yelp warns users about litigious dentist; Pinterest battles Snapchat

Instagram now allows celebrities to block trolls. The rest of us will have to continue trying to ignore Instagram trolls. While Facebook reached new highs last quarter, Twitter continued to stumble. Will adding more live...more

Non-Party Yelp Ordered to Remove Defamatory Reviews

In 2012, attorney Dawn Hassell represented Ava Bird for a period of 25 days related to a personal injury she suffered. Bird expressed dissatisfaction with the representation and Hassell withdrew from the representation....more

Faulkner v. Hasbro Inc. - USDC, D. New Jersey, July 21, 2016

District court denies toy company’s motion to dismiss right of publicity claim brought by Fox News anchor Harris Faulkner, holding that fact that hamster doll in defendant’s Littlest Pet Shop toy line bore plaintiff’s...more

Media gulled by prostate cancer study hyped by Windy City windbags

A well-known research university and some excitable journalists have sown confusion about prostate cancer and the value of the PSA screening test. The mess can be traced to a study by physicians from Northwestern University...more

Augmenting Reality: A Pokémon Go Business and Legal Primer

We have become inured to the sight of people staring at their phones rather than engaging with one another or enjoying their real-life surroundings. But, over the past two weeks, enslavement to mobile devices rose to new...more

Advertising Law - July 2016 #2

VW Will Pay $14.7B in Largest FTC False Ad Suit - Volkswagen made a $14.7 billion deal with the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the California Attorney General over charges that the auto...more

Extending the Reach of Octane Fitness Under the Lanham Act **WEB ONLY**

The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit adopted and applied the Supreme Court of the United States’ rationale for an award of attorneys’ fees in patent cases to a trademark case. In doing so, the Fifth Circuit aligned...more

Federal Judge Dismisses Defamation Suit Against Rolling Stone After Discredited University of Virginia Profile

A New York federal judge recently granted a motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine, its publisher Wenner Media, and journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely. Three former University of Virginia (“UVA”)...more

The Death Of Alexander Hamilton And The Birth Of The American Free Press

Alexander Hamilton has more to do with American independence than you might think. His efforts as a Founding Father (the hottest Founding Father on Broadway, it should be noted) helped the United States achieve political...more

Brodeur v. Atlas Entertainment Inc. - Calif. Appeal Court, 2nd Dist., Div. 8, June 6, 2016

Appellate court reverses denial of anti-SLAPP motion brought by producers and distributors of “American Hustle,” holding that film dialogue regarding environmental author’s statement about microwave ovens was in connection...more

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

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