Posts from October 2009.
Posted in Defamation

A decision last week from the North Carolina Court of Appeals illustrates an important principle concerning the nature of appellate review in defamation actions -- that non-final orders are ordinarily not subject to immediate appeal by the plaintiff.  The case of Nguyen v. Taylor involved a host of libel and related claims brought by five Greensboro police officers against a rapper, Jayceon Taylor, known as "The Game", arising out of an October 28, 2005, incident that occurred in a Greensboro mall.  Taylor was arrested after he and his entourage were asked to leave the mall and an ... Read More 

As we discussed in this earlier post, anti-SLAPP statutes are laws designed to prevent plaintiffs from using the threat of costly litigation to chill the free speech rights of people seeking to participate in the public debate over important issues.

SLAPP suits -- Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation -- are typically claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, or tortious interference with contract filed against a party who has criticized or spoken out against the plaintiff in some public context.  The paradigm case is a ... Read More 

Posted in Public Records

The U.S. Supreme Court took action today in a high-profile public records dispute, issuing a stay of a Ninth Circuit ruling that requires the release of the names of those who petitioned to include a referendum on the ballot in the State of Washington this November.  The dispute relates to Referendum 71, a ballot initiative that would overturn a Washington law, passed this year, granting legal rights to domestic partners equivalent to those enjoyed by married couples.  The initiative was launched by a conservative group that opposes same-sex marriage.

In order to appear on the ... Read More 

Posted in Defamation

Late last week a federal jury returned a verdict in the defendant's favor in a libel case from Massachusetts that has attracted national attention.  The case, Noonan v. Staples, came into the spotlight because of a ruling from the First Circuit Court of Appeals that the plaintiff's libel claim could go to trial even if the communication at issue were true or substantially true.  We wrote about the decision here, noting the consternation the decision had drawn from First Amendment advocates for its implication that a truthful publication, if published with common-law ... Read More 

In a decision released today, the North Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court order sealing three search warrants and related materials in a high-profile murder case in Cary, North Carolina. The decision, In re Cooper, represents the first instance in which a North Carolina appellate court has squarely addressed the standards applicable to orders sealing search warrant materials, and it resulted in a set back for press interests in North Carolina.

The case arose out of the investigation into the death of Nancy Cooper.  In July 2008, the Cary Police Department and ... Read More 


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