Communications & Media Personal Injury Constitutional Law

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Court Rejects Glenn Beck’s “Limited Purpose” and “Involuntary” Public Figure Theories in Marathon Bombing Defamation Case

This week, Judge Patti B. Saris of the District of Massachusetts denied a motion to dismiss a defamation action that had been brought by Abdulrahman Alharbi against radio and television personality Glenn Beck. In denying the...more

Hurdles to Bringing a Defamation Suit for an Online Review

Courts and the legislature alike have made it difficult for doctors and business owners of all kinds to succeed on a defamation claim for an online review, often treating these lawsuits as attempts to silence freedom of...more

Appellate Court Affirms Anti-SLAPP Dismissal of Defamation Lawsuit by Political Candidate

On October 30, in Goral v. Kulys, the Illinois First District Appellate Court affirmed dismissal of a defamation suit pursuant to the Illinois Citizen Participation Act, 735 ILCS 110/1 et seq. (the “Act”). The Goral decision...more

Negative Online Reviews- What Amounts to Defamation?

Online review can impact a medical practice more than ever in today’s digital world and no one is policing what patients post online or how truthful it is. All it takes is a cell phone and in a few minutes a review can be...more

The Texas Anti-Slapp Law: Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ch. 27 (Updated October 2014)

In this Publication: - I. Introduction - II. The Texas Citizens Participation Act: What Is It? - III. Application Of The TCPA - IV. Unintended Consequences - V. The TCPA - Conclusions...more

Arizona Court of Appeals Recognizes Right of Publicity While Protecting Free Speech in Precedent Setting Case

For the first time ever, an Arizona state court has recognized that individuals enjoy a right of publicity that protects them from the unauthorized use of their name or likeness for commercial or trade purposes. In its April...more

Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group DC Circuit Panel

The DC Circuit has announced that the Abbas v. Foreign Policy Group appeal will be heard on October 20, 2014 before Circuit Judges Kavanaugh, Srinivasan, and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards. I thought I would take a quick look...more

Section 230 Does Not Apply to Allegations that Website for Models Failed to Warn Plaintiff About Potential for Rape

The 9th Circuit earlier this month decided that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, does not bar claims that a networking website for models failed to warn a member that a third party might use the...more

David v. Goliath in DC Superior Court

A “David versus Goliath” battle is playing out in the DC Superior Court, with the DC anti-SLAPP statute in the role of the slingshot. Our “David” is the Center for Defense Advanced Studies (“C4ADS”). According to an...more

Executing Noriega?

As some of you may recall, I posted about a lawsuit Manuel Noriega brought against purveyors of the Call of Duty video game franchise arising from his depiction in the game. In essence, I suggested that Noriega’s lawsuit was...more

Unmasking the anonymous online critic – first, there is the matter of jurisdiction

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued a 5-4 decision holding a plaintiff needs to establish jurisdiction over an anonymous blogger before a court will allow pre-suit discovery that would likely unmask the blogger’s...more

What is More Defamatory? A False Accusation of Homophobia or of Homosexuality?

In July 2014, Judge Barbara Jaffe of the New York Supreme Court dismissed the defamation claims in Kramer v. Skyhorse Publications. Kenny Kramer, the real life inspiration for the beloved eponymous Seinfeld character, had...more

Stacy Allen Speaks: Video Game Makers Strike Out In College Athlete Cases – Coaching Tips For The Virtual World

Over the past several years, I have written about a series of decisions in suits brought by former collegiate athletes against EA Sports and the NCAA, seeking compensation for the use of their likenesses and those of...more

The Supreme Court of Texas Rules Injunctions for Defamation Not Proper and Requires Proof of Damages

On Friday, the Supreme Court of Texas issued two important defamation rulings. The first, Kinney v. Barnes, held that injunctions to prohibit defamatory speech do not pass constitutional muster. ...more

Texas Web Publishers Earn Novel Protection Against Stale Lawsuits

In a case of first impression for a state appellate court, a Texas broadcaster was protected against a stale libel suit arising from a news report posted to the Internet. ...more

Doctor’s Slapp at Yelp Reviewer Largely Dismissed by DC Superior Court

Yelp, and websites like it, have certainly added to the development of law in the First Amendment area. The Virginia Supreme Court is poised to decide the standard for unmasking anonymous commentators on websites like Yelp. ...more

Status Updates - August 2014 #6

..Ahead of the law? In Hidalgo County, Texas, a former sheriff has been sued civilly over allegedly illegal campaign contributions. (He was also criminally convicted of money laundering.) At a civil deposition in the case, a...more

Social Media Freedom of Expression Cases Pit the Public Against Public Officials

In perhaps the next battleground for government and education, citizens who comment on social media sites are facing off with local government officials public and school administrators who find their online expression...more

Dealing with the Dangers of Online Reviewing

Law tries to find the line between protecting speech and punishing defamation - Online review websites, such as Yelp or Angie’s List, have become a common forum for griping. They give a voice to past customers to...more

Reviews Posted Under a Pseudonym Could be Defamatory

As written on this blog before, plaintiffs often have difficulty when alleging claims of defamation against anonymous defendants. Unsurprisingly, websites that provide a forum for anonymous commentary are loathe to reveal the...more

Copyright As An Online Reputation Management Tool: A Round Hole For A Square Peg

So, how is copyright law doing as an online reputation management tool? We have written many times recently about the use of copyright law to do what defamation law can’t: take stuff down from the internet. A...more

Message Board Post Highly Critical of Company is Opinion and Thus Not Defamatory

An essential defense to a defamation claim is "pure opinion." In other words, if the defendant can show that the statements alleged to be defamatory are opinions protected under the relevant free speech laws, the defamation...more

Prime Minister of Singapore Moves for Summary Judgment in Novel Defamation Lawsuit

In papers filed today with the High Court of Singapore, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong moved for summary judgment in his defamation lawsuit against blogger Roy Ngerng Yi Ling. The prime minister’s action is the first...more

SLAPP’d in Los Angeles: What types of Lawsuits are Protected by California’s Anti-SLAPP Law

This post is the second in a series on California’s anti-SLAPP law from the perspective of Los Angeles appellate and trial attorney, Jeffrey Lewis. In the prior post, I described in general what California’s anti-SLAPP law...more

Insurance Coverage – Personal & Advertising Injury – Trade Disparagement

Hartford Casualty Insurance Co. v Swift Distribution, Inc. - California Supreme Court (June 12, 2014) - Commercial liability policies provide coverage for “personal and advertising injury.” This term typically...more

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