Posts from January 2009.
Posted in Privacy

In October 2008, we reported that the Florida Supreme Court rejected the false light invasion of privacy tort as a viable claim for relief under Florida law.  On December 23, 2008, the Missouri Court of Appeals went the opposite direction and held that Missouri does recognize false light invasion of privacy as an actionable tort. 

In Meyerkord v. Zipatoni Co., the Missouri Court of Appeals vacated and remanded the trial court's dismissal of a plaintiff's claim alleging that the defendant company, Zipatoni, had cast the plaintiff in a false light by failing to remove the plaintiff as the ... Read More 

Posted in FOIA

On his first full day in office, President Barack Obama issued two memoranda to the heads of executive departments and agencies plainly declaring that government departments and agencies must be open for public scrutiny.

In the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) memorandum, President Obama directs executive departments and agencies to administer FOIA with a presumption in favor of openness. 

In the face of doubt, openness prevails.  The Government should not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors ...

Posted in Public Records

January 2009 marks the start of a new year, with a new President in the White House and new Governors in a number of states, including North Carolina and Missouri. Two outgoing governors, North Carolina Governor Michael Easley and Missouri Governor Matt Blunt, faced intense conflict with the media during 2008 over the issue of retention of and public access to government e-mail messages under relevant public records laws. The conflicts were often heated but were ultimately resolved in anti-climatic fashion in the final days of their respective administrations.

In ... Read More 

We previously reported a recent intermediate appellate court decision from New Jersey in which the court took a narrow view of the fair report privilege.  That decision gave cause for concern for news organizations in New Jersey because it held that the privilege does not apply to reports on the contents of civil court complaints and filings other than final decisions by the court.

On Tuesday, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a one-paragraph order that temporarily stayed the effect of the lower court decision while the court considers whether to accept the newspaper's ... Read More 

The California Supreme Court in mid-December ruled that a statutory exception to the state's landmark anti-SLAPP statute should be narrowly construed, reversing a lower court ruling to the contrary.

California's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation) statute, which was the first of its kind when it was passed in 1992, allows defendants to make a special motion to strike any claim against them arising out of their "right of petition or free speech" unless the plaintiff can show a probability of success on the claim.  In essence, the statute prevents ... Read More 

Posted in Shield Laws

The invaluable Media Law Resource Center recently released a report detailing state efforts to pass shield laws in the past three years.

According to the report, because of the high-profile contempt arrests of reporters James Taricani in 2004 and Judith Miller in 2005, legislative support for the reporter's privilege gained significant momentum.  As a result, five states -- Hawaii, Maine, Utah, Washington, and Connecticut -- passed shield statutes, bringing the total nationally to 36 states plus the District of Columbia.

Three other states, however, attempted to pass shield ... Read More 


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