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John Edwards argues before the Texas Supreme Court on important libel case that started in 2003

Houston partner John K. Edwards recently argued before the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of a newspaper and reporter in an important libel case that started in 2003 concerning an article published in a Fort Bend County...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In a case demonstrating the difficulties of applying long-established but arguably outdated legal principles to modern technology, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last week reversed itself to permit a...more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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Second Circuit Tells Public Figures Suing For Defamation: We Need Plausible Factual Allegations Of Actual Malice

In Biro v. Condé Nast, et al., the Second Circuit recently determined that, in a defamation action, limited-purpose public figures must plead in a “plausible way” that the defendants acted with actual malice, citing Federal...more

GAME OF (STICKS &) STONES – Prior Restraint & Online Defamation

In previous posts, we have explored several aspects of internet defamation – including suing anonymous internet and twitter users and the protections afforded to internet users and providers for re-publishing content under...more

Do Not Mess With Michael Jordan And His Right Of Publicity

After Michael Jordan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September of 2009, Sports Illustrated ran a special issue to commemorate Jordan’s achievement and celebrate his career. The issue was to be sold in...more

Hidden Risks? What Liability Can Private Colleges and Universities Have for Their Student Newspapers and Publications?

It is well-settled that public institutions are generally not liable for statements made by their student publications because the First Amendment prohibits them from exercising control over such publications. See, e.g.,...more

What’s the Impact of the DC Circuit’s Abbas Decision?

The DC Circuit’s Abbas decision, holding that the DC anti-SLAPP statute does not apply in a federal court diversity case, is beginning to have real-world consequences for litigants in the District of Columbia. Since the...more

Texas Anti-SLAPP Law: The Expanding Scope of the Texas Citizen’s Participation Act – Part 1

The Texas Anti-SLAPP law is known as the Texas Citizens Participation Act (the “TCPA” found at Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code at § 27.001, et seq.). “If a legal action is based on, relates to, or is in response to a party’s...more

When Bad Things Happen to Good People...On the Internet

The internet has generated countless new ways to communicate and share thinking. Some posted information is negative, which can still be useful when messages are truthful, in good taste, and constructive. But some negative...more

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