Posts from August 2009.
Posted in Defamation

A New York trial judge ruled recently that cover model Liskula Cohen was entitled to learn the identity of the anonymous author of the short-lived "Skanks in NYC" blog.  Cohen claimed that the blogger had defamed her in August 2008 when the blogger wrote: "I would have to say that the first place award for 'Skankiest in NYC' would have to go to Liskula Gentile Cohen."   The blogger later called Cohen a "psychotic, lying, whoring . . . skank."

The blog was hosted by Google, so in January, Cohen asked a judge to order Google to disclose the blogger's identity.  A lawyer appeared for the blogger ... Read More 

Posted in Public Records

In a closely watched case, a Leon County, Florida trial court judge held last week that records concerning an NCAA investigation into possible academic cheating by athletes at Florida State University were public records subject to disclosure.  A coalition of media organizations had filed suit under Florida's public records law, seeking the release of transcripts from a 2008 NCAA hearing in which school and NCAA officials discussed the allegations of cheating.

The factual wrinkle that made this case unique was that University officials never actually received a paper copy of the ... Read More 

Posted in Defamation

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals, the highest court for cases arising in the District of Columbia, continued the recent trend of requiring defamation plaintiffs to meet an elevated legal standard when they serve a subpoena seeking the identity of an anonymous speaker.  Like Maryland's highest court, the District of Columbia appellate court held that a plaintiff must proffer sufficient evidence to survive summary judgment before a motion to compel will be granted.

The D.C. case, Solers, Inc. v. John Doe, was brought by Solers, a software company, alleging that Doe had ... Read More 

Posted in Miscellaneous

As reported by our colleague Mack Sperling in his North Carolina Business Litigation Report, the Fourth Circuit recently affirmed a trial court order to disclose the identity of an anonymous speaker who had sent a letter, through a law firm, to Jos. A. Banks Clothiers accusing the company of accounting fraud.

Read Mack's post for all the details, though it is worth noting that sitting by designation on the panel was retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.Read More 

Posted in Defamation

The Twitter phenomena has seemingly gone viral this summer. What started out as a quirky way for people to send brief (140 characters or fewer!!) updates on their daily activities, thoughts, or opinions, is now a major source of breaking news. From the streets of Iran to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ practice field, correspondents of all stripes are Tweeting first, blogging second, and (maybe) writing a story for the crusty old newspaper third.

It should come as no surprise, then, that we are just now seeing our first claims for Twitter defamation.  As has been widely discussed, a ... Read More 

In a stunning move of questionable constitutionality, a federal court in late July conducted an entire two-day trial behind closed doors, with no access to the public or media “from the swearing in of the first witness through closing arguments.”  As the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press reported, even the judge’s ruling was filed under seal.

The highly unusual move came in a trial involving a civil suit filed against the federal government by the family of a Jewish Defense League activist Earl Krugel who was beaten to death by white supremacists while in federal ... Read More 


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