Posts from November 2009.
Posted in Defamation

In a decision that goes against the grain of a building legal consensus around the country, an Illinois trial court has ordered the disclosure of the identity of an anonymous blogger who the plaintiff, a local politician, claims defamed her 15-year-old son.

The controversy started this spring, as local elections in Buffalo Grove Village were heating up, when an online debate between the candidate's son and "Hipcheck16" got testy.  When challenged to a live debate, Hipcheck16, wrote, according to reports: "Seems like you're very willing to invite a man you only know from the Internet ... Read More 

Posted in Intrusion

In late September, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit reversed on First Amendment grounds a $5 million jury verdict against infamous Kansas preacher Fred Phelps and other members of his Westboro Baptist Church.

The claim against Phelps and his church members arose from their protest activities at the March 2006 funeral of Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, a U.S. Marine who was killed in Iraq. At Snyder's funeral in Westminster, Maryland, Phelps and other protesters held up a variety of offensive signs decrying gays, Catholics, and Americans generally.  Members of ... Read More 

Posted in Shield Laws

The Senate Judiciary Committee is slated this week to take up compromise language on the Free Flow of Information Act of 2009 (S. 448), endorsed by Attorney General Eric Holder, which may finally result in passage of a federal shield law.

As we previously reported, federal shield bills were again introduced in Congress this year, after many years of frustrating defeats. Although a shield bill passed in the House, the bill unexpectedly hit a snag in the Senate. To the surprise of many observers, the Obama administration objected to the bill on the grounds that ... Read More 

Posted in Public Records

The North Carolina Court of Appeals earlier this week affirmed in a 2-1 decision the dismissal of a public records action brought by the State Employees Association of North Carolina ("SEANC") against the North Carolina Department of the State Treasurer ("Treasury Department"). The decision, which held that SEANC failed to state a claim under the North Carolina Public Records Act, N.C. Gen. Stat. s. 132-1, et seq., is troubling in how the court approached both the substantive and procedural issues presented in the case.

The long-brewing dispute traces back to ... Read More 


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