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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

Most-Invasive-Procedure-of-the-Month Award

Back in 2010 the police asked Dr. LaPaglia to conduct a body cavity search of Felix Booker. They were looking for illegal drugs. Dr. LaPaglia said yes and proceeded. First, he paralyzed Felix with drugs (legal ones). Then...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

Texas Supreme Court Opinions and Orders (8/29/14)

As expected, the last order list of the Supreme Court's fiscal year was a busy one. The Court issued opinions in 12 argued cases, so I apologize in advance for the length of this post. There were no grants and no mandamus...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

City May be Liable for Damage to Residence from Falling Tree Under Inverse Condemnation

When is a tree a “public improvement” for purposes of inverse condemnation? According to one court, when the tree was planted by a city as part of a forestry program and maintained over a period of time. City of Pasadena v....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

Texas Supreme Court to Hear Defamation Case Involving Fracking Claims

On August 21, 2014, the Texas Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments in an ongoing dispute between a homeowner and Texas-based oil driller Range Resources Corp. The case is not a typical homeowner vs. oil driller...more

No Workers' Comp Immunity! No Insurance! Sure Is a Problem

In many states, workers’ compensation benefits are ordinarily the exclusive remedy for an employee injured or killed on the job. In exchange for these benefits, often awarded on a “no fault” basis, the employee generally...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

Florida Court finds Workers' Compensation Statute Unconstitutional

Circuit Judge Jorge E. Cueto of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida has found that Section 440.11 of Florida's Workers' Compensation Act (the "Act"), which makes the Act the "exclusive" remedy...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

When The Teacher Is The School Bully

Anti-bullying laws may now have a significant impact on what is considered to be “emotional abuse” in schools. Recently, the Connecticut Supreme Court concluded that a teacher’s bullying behavior toward a student met the...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

Texas Supreme Court Enforces Medical Criteria for Claims Involving Asbestos and Declares the Application of Chapter 90...

In a 5–4 opinion issued in Union Carbide Corporation v. Daisy E. Synatzske et al. No. 12-0617 (Tex. July 3, 2014), the Texas Supreme Court held that Chapter 90 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code as applied to the...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Police Order To Stay Put While Conducting Background Check Is A Seizure Under Fourth Amendment

The Command Can Implicate Municipal Liability - Overview: The Ninth Circuit recently held that, when a police officer orders a suspect to “stay put,” that command constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the...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

A History Of Massachusetts Anti-SLAPP Legislation As A Vehicle For Protecting First Amendment Petitioning Activity From...

Before the passage of anti-SLAPP legislation, citizens engaged in First Amendment petitioning activity often found themselves the targets of retaliatory lawsuits. For example, a group of neighbors might speak out at a local...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

Legal Updates for Government Entities Covering May and June 2014

Arizona Court of Appeals (heading) Immunity under A.R.S. § 12-820.03 Glazer v. State of Arizona, --P.3d--, 2014 WL949114 (Ariz.App. 2014) This case arises out of a cross-over crash on I-10 south of...more

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