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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

Protecting High Profile Reputations - Brownstein's $19 Million Verdict Stands After Appeal

In the modern age of the Internet where “news”—whether or not it’s true—spreads worldwide in an instant, high-profile corporate and individual reputations are under attack every day from business adversaries, disgruntled...more

When “Slacker” Was A Dirty Word: Defamation And Draft Dodging During World War I

This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I. The Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated on June 28, 1914 and, by the end of August 1914, Germany, Russia, France and the United Kingdom had joined the...more

Sixth Circuit Vacates Lower Court Judgment and Awards Website Operator Immunity

In August of 2013, this blog wrote about the case Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recordings, LLC, 965 F. Supp. 2d 818 (E.D. Ky. 2013) ("Jones I"). As described then, Jones I dealt with the following set of facts...more

Illinois Court of Appeals Reiterates Immunity For Statements in Public Meetings

The Second District Appellate Court recently highlighted the strong protection Illinois law provides for statements by executive officers and members of local government boards and councils, including school boards, during...more

Virginia Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Appeal in Yelp Users Defamation Case

Yelp.com (Yelp) labels itself an "online urban guide." Specifically, the website allows users to write reviews about experiences at businesses they've visited. It also permits users to browse the posted reviews. The...more

Nevada Supreme Court Holds Judicial Privilege for Statements Made to the Media During Litigation is Not Absolute

In Jacobs v. Adelson, 130 Nev. Adv. Op. 44 (Mar. 29, 2014), the Nevada Supreme Court was asked to decide whether statements made to a newspaper during litigation were absolutely privileged. The case involved a defamation...more

Sixth Circuit Holds Website Cannot Be Liable for Postings, Reversing Lower Court

In an important decision issued today, the Sixth Circuit held that the operators of www.TheDirty.com could not be held liable for postings by third parties on the website. The decision reversed the decision of the Eastern...more

Sixth Circuit Reinforces CDA Immunity – Reverses Lower Court in Jones v. Dirty World

On June 16th, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed the lower court’s holding that the gossip site, TheDirty.com, was responsible for its users’ defamatory posts and could not rely on immunity under CDA Section 230. The appeals...more

City of Chicago Sues Big Pharma Over Opioid Marketing Campaign of Deception

Opioids are frequently prescribed to ease the pain for those suffering from cancer but the city of Chicago believes the drug use has gone above and beyond cancer pain and it’s suing Big Pharma for aggressively pushing the...more

Intellectual Property Bulletin - Spring 2014

Right of Publicity? First, Let Me Take a Selfie - “Oh, he wants to do a selfie,” President Barack Obama observed with amusement before gamely posing with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz. Ortiz snapped the...more

Insurance Recovery Law - June 2014

Lab’s “Body Bag” Presentations Triggered Coverage For Defamation Claims: Why it matters - We’ve all sat through some pretty boring PowerPoint presentations. But the lesson from a recent decision: it might be a...more

Defamation Claim Against HBO Sports Documentary Proceeds; International Sporting Goods Supplier Not a Public Figure

On May 16, 2014, in Mitre Sports v. HBO, the Southern District of New York allowed a defamation claim brought by a UK company against HBO to proceed to trial. In doing so, the Court ruled that Mitre Sports International, one...more

Could US Law Ever Recognize the “Right to Be Forgotten”?

Can there be a “Right to Be Forgotten” Law in the U.S.? The “right to be forgotten” in the online sphere has recently been protected by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the European Union. According...more

DC Court of Appeals Holds that Denial of Motion to Quash Under DC Anti-SLAPP Statute Is Immediately Appealable

Yesterday, in its first decision interpreting the DC Anti-SLAPP statute, the DC Court of Appeals (DC’s highest court) held that: - the denial of a special motion to quash under the statute is immediately appealable...more

D.C. Court of Appeals Permits Early Anti-SLAPP Appeals for Anonymous Speakers

In a victory for anonymous speech, journalists and free speech advocates, the D.C. Court of Appeals, in John Doe No. 1 v. Burke (No. 13-CV-83), issued its first decision under the D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute....more

Online Reputation Protection and Repair

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

Advertising Law - May 2014

Schwarzenegger Sues Over Publicity Rights - The Governator has filed a $10 million suit alleging that Nevada-based Arnold Nutrition Group “brazenly stole[] and exploited” his likeness to market its products in...more

Pejorative Statements by Former Patient are not Defamatory, but Protected Opinion

It is fair to say that doctors trade on their reputations more so than most other professionals. When one relies on the doctor to ensure his or her health, and occasionally save a life, the import of such a choice often...more

Communications Decency Act Forecloses Liability For “Amplifying,” “Endorsing” and “Adopting” Defamatory Statements With Hyperlink

Two weeks ago, in Vazquez v. Buhl, the Appeals Court of Connecticut affirmed dismissal of a defamation claim against CNBC for hyperlinking to an online report by journalist Teri Buhl. The Court held that, although CNBC...more

Is J&J Baby Powder Carcinogenic?

The question about whether or not Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder contains carcinogens is reportedly about 30 years old. That is alleged in a plaintiffs’ lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson over its Baby Powder claiming there...more

Advertising News & Analysis - May 2014

In this issue: - The Rulings the FTC Won't Forget (and Neither Should You) - $6 Million Reasons to Regret That Tweet - Hold the Phone: FCC, Courts Bring Some Clarity to TCPA - FTC, CFPB Tag Team...more

The CFAA Does Not Apply To Facebook Photo Theft

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), codified at 18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq, is a criminal statute that forbids, among other things, "intentionally access[ing] a protected computer, without authorization" when the access...more

Hospital Accepts Physician’s Invitation To Defame Him

A Vermont doctor sued a hospital for defaming him. The court agreed he’d been defamed but threw the case out anyway. Why? Because the physician had “invited” the defamation. The hospital merely accepted the invitation....more

Living With Others Thinking You're Fu*king Crazy

One of the issues we address in this blog is the notion that social media doesn’t necessarily create new claims, but rather serves as a quicker and easier platform to apply traditional claims that have existed forever. Take...more

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