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Libel & Privacy Second Edition by Bruce W. Sanford

Libel and Privacy, Second Edition

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Overview

One of the nation's leading First Amendment attorneys provides media counsel with up-to-date information on how to avoid litigation, the "public person," settlement and pretrial tactics, winning trial tactics and cost minimization techniques; with ample case analysis, including the landmark case Moldea v. New York Times Co. By Bruce W. Sanford.

Libel and Privacy by Bruce W. Sanford explains how the U.S. Supreme Court is now approaching constitutional libel law and setting the boundaries for invasion of privacy suits. Comprehensive coverage of all key topics includes:

  • Establishing effective techniques to avoid litigation by following the four-step review process
  • In-depth treatment of "public person"
  • Valuable settlement and pretrial tactics
  • Winning trial tactics and cost minimization techniques
  • Analysis of recent cases and new developments including those in the emerging cyber-like area
  • Discussion of the landmark case Moldea v. New York Times Co. -- which the author argued and won
  • An illustration of the legal and factual criteria governing the measurement of damages in libel actions
  • And more

Last Updated 06/11/2018
Update Frequency Updated semi-annually
Product Line Wolters Kluwer Legal & Regulatory U.S.
ISBN 9780735552975
SKU 10045855-7777
Table of Contents

Preface

About the Author

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1
Evolution of a Twenty-First Century Tort

1.1

The 1980s: The Developmental Decade

1.2

April 1980

1.3

April 1984

1.4

April 1985

1.5

April 1987

1.6

July 1989

1.7

July 1990

1.8

July 1993

1.9

July 1998

1.10

July 2002

1.11

July 2003

1.12

July 2005

1.13

July 2010

1.14

July 2011

1.15

July 2012

1.16

July 2013

Chapter 2
Defamation from the Dark Ages to the Information Age: A Global Overview

2.1

Origins and History of Anglo-American Libel Law

2.2

Modern British Press Law

 

2.2.1

Criminal Libel

 

2.2.2

Defamation

 

2.2.3

Prior Restraint: Reporting on Government

 

2.2.4

Prior Restraint: Reporting on the Courts

 

2.2.5

The Press and Broadcast Complaints Commissions

2.3

Evolutionary Trends in International Libel Law

 

2.3.1

Canadian Press Law

 

2.3.2

European Traditions

 

2.3.3

Japan's Variation of the American Experiment

 

2.3.4

Freedom of the Press: An International Aspiration

 

2.3.5

Enforcement of Judgments: The American Rejoinder

Part I
PREVENTING LIBEL

 

Chapter 3
Pre-Publication Review

3.1

Introduction

3.2

Defining the Task

3.3

Proper Roles of Lawyer, Editor, Author

 

3.3.1

Establishing the Relationship

 

3.3.2

The Lawyer's Role

 

3.3.3

The Editor's Role

 

3.3.4

The Writer's Role

3.4

Discovery: Its Impact on Pre-Publication Review

3.5

Methods

 

3.5.1

Newspapers

 

3.5.2

Magazines

 

3.5.3

Book Publishing

 

3.5.4

Broadcasting

3.6

Slander and Libel During Newsgathering

 

3.6.1

Scenario 1: “Shaking the Tree”

 

3.6.2

Scenario 2: “Pursuing an Already Published Story”

 

3.6.3

Scenario 3: “Cultivating Relationships with Sources”

 

3.6.4

Scenario 4: “Covering Your Flanks”

 

3.6.5

Scenario 5: “Going Undercover”

3.7

Questions to Ask in Pre-Publication Review: The Four-Step Process

 

3.7.1

Is It Libelous?

 

3.7.2

Who Is the Potential Plaintiff?

 

3.7.3

Is It Privileged?

 

3.7.4

Are Privacy Problems Implicated?

Chapter 4
Injury to Reputation

4.1

Introduction

4.2

A Working Definition

4.3

Name-Calling: Unflattering Is Not Libelous

4.4

Targets: Persons Capable of Being Libeled

 

4.4.1

“Of and Concerning”

 

4.4.2

Group Libel

4.5

Libel Per Se, Libel Per Quod

4.6

Roles of Judge and Jury

4.7

Innocent Construction Rule

4.8

Single Instance Rule

4.9

Context and Television's “Impressions”

4.10

Plain Meaning of Words

4.11

True Facts, Defamatory Implications

4.12

Specific Examples of Defamation

 

4.12.1

Commission of a Crime

 

4.12.2

Immorality and Unethical Conduct

 

4.12.3

Unsavory Associates; Disgraceful and Despicable Actions

   

4.12.3.1

Ties to Unpopular Groups

 

4.12.4

Financial Irresponsibility or Unreliability and Injuring a Person in His Business, Trade, or Profession

4.13

Red Flag Words

4.14

Criminal Libel

Chapter 5
Opinion v. Fact

5.1

The Twin Opinion Defenses

5.2

Fair Comment: The Common Law Privilege

5.3

Verifiability and the First Amendment

 

5.3.1

Milkovich: The Shift from Form to Substance

 

5.3.2

Application of the Milkovich Test

5.4

Reconciling the Twin Defenses Since 1974

 

5.4.1

Restatement (Second) of Torts

 

5.4.2

Acceptance of the Restatement's View

   

5.4.2.1

Pure Opinion

   

5.4.2.2

Rhetoric and Verbal Abuse

   

5.4.2.3

Summary: Pure Opinion and Rhetoric

   

5.4.2.4

Mixed Opinion

5.5

Distinguishing Fact from Opinion

 

5.5.1

Who Decides and How?

 

5.5.2

Recognizing Opinion

   

5.5.2.1

Factual Context

   

5.5.2.2

Linguistic Context

   

5.5.2.3

Formal Context

     

5.5.2.3.1

Reviews

     

5.5.2.3.2

Rankings and Listings

     

5.5.2.3.3

Editorials

     

5.5.2.3.4

Humor

       

5.5.2.3.4.1

Cartoons

       

5.5.2.3.4.2

Other Humor

     

5.5.2.3.5

Headlines

Chapter 6
Truth

6.1

Introduction

6.2

The Requirement of Falsity

 

6.2.1

The Common Law

 

6.2.2

Constitutional Law

6.3

Burden of Proving Falsity

 

6.3.1

The Common Law

 

6.3.2

Constitutional Law

 

6.3.3

Practical Impact

6.4

Assessing the Likelihood of Establishing Truth

 

6.4.1

“Substantial” Truth: The “Gist” or “Sting” Rule

   

6.4.1.1

Minor Inaccuracies

   

6.4.1.2

Legal Terminology

 

6.4.2

Truth and Summary Judgment

 

6.4.3

Assessing Truth: Practical Considerations

   

6.4.3.1

Documents

   

6.4.3.2

Personal Interviews

   

6.4.3.3

Notes and Tapes

   

6.4.3.4

The Opportunity to Respond

   

6.4.3.5

Conclusion

6.5

Neutral Reportage: Publishing the Defamatory Quotation

6.6

False Implications

Chapter 7
Who Is the Plaintiff? The Public v. Private Person Determination

7.1

Introduction

7.2

Public Officials

 

7.2.1

“Constitutionalization” of Libel Law: Public Officials and the Sullivan Rule

   

7.2.1.1

The Sullivan Decision: “An Occasion for Dancing”

   

7.2.1.2

History and the First Amendment's “Central Meaning”

   

7.2.1.3

Political Practicalities

   

7.2.1.4

Common Law Roots

   

7.2.1.5

Public Persons and Judicial Hesitance

 

7.2.2

Identifying “Public Officials”

   

7.2.2.1

Rosenblatt: Who Are “Public Officials?”

   

7.2.2.2

“Public Officialdom” in the Lower Courts

 

7.2.3

Some Recurring “Public Officials”

   

7.2.3.1

Elected Officials, Candidates, Political Figures, Political Professionals

   

7.2.3.2

Law Enforcement Officers

   

7.2.3.3

Undercover Informants and Investigators

   

7.2.3.4

Public School Educators

   

7.2.3.5

Government Contractors and Consultants

   

7.2.3.6

Attorneys as “Public Officials”

 

7.2.4

Outer Limits of the “Public Official” Rule: What Statements Are Beyond the Scope of the Rule?

7.3

Public Figures

 

7.3.1

Nailing Jellyfish to the Wall

 

7.3.2

Extending the Sullivan Standard to “Public Figures”: Coach Butts and General Walker

 

7.3.3

The Burger Court and “Public Figure” Prototypes: Gertz

 

7.3.4

The Supreme Court's Post-Gertz Decisions: Substance Eludes the Doctrine

7.4

Gertz In Perspective: Applying the “Public Figure” Tests

 

7.4.1

Media Access and Inviting Attention and Comments: The Basic Justification

 

7.4.2

The Three Prototypes

   

7.4.2.1

Fame and Influence, “Position Alone” and the Overstated “All-Purposes Public Figure”

   

7.4.2.2

Involvement in Controversy: The “Limited-Purpose Public Figure”

   

7.4.2.3

“Involuntary Public Figures” and “Notoriety”

7.5

The Libel-Proof Doctrine

7.6

Passage of Time and Public Person Status

 

7.6.1

Scope of the Issue

 

7.6.2

Passage of Time: Applying the Black Letter Rules

7.7

Defamation of Business Entities

Chapter 8
Evaluating the Standard of Care

8.1

Introduction

8.2

Supreme Court Development

 

8.2.1

Sullivan and Garrison: The Birth of “Actual Malice”

 

8.2.2

Butts and Walker: Public Figures and the Standard of Care

 

8.2.3

Hanks and St. Amant: The Contours of “Actual Malice”

 

8.2.4

BreslerPape, and Rosenbloom: Protection for Standard Practices

 

8.2.5

Gertz and Firestone: The Reasonable Man Enters the Law of Defamation

 

8.2.6

Bose: The Court Revisits “Actual Malice”

 

8.2.7

Connaughton: The Court Fine-Tunes Actual Malice and the Standard of Review

8.3

The World According to Gertz: The States Respond

 

8.3.1

The Negligence Standard

 

8.3.2

Alternative Standards

8.4

The Standard of Care: Recurring Scenarios

 

8.4.1

The Choice of Language

   

8.4.1.1

Use of Words

   

8.4.1.2

Legal Terminology

 

8.4.2

Verification: The Thoroughness of Factual Inquiry

 

8.4.3

Reliability of Sources

   

8.4.3.1

The Source's Employment

   

8.4.3.2

Hostility or Ill Will

   

8.4.3.3

Public Officials and Public Documents

   

8.4.3.4

Anonymous Sources

 

8.4.4

Confidential Sources: Special Considerations

   

8.4.4.1

The Reporter's Constitutional Privilege

   

8.4.4.2

The Reporter's Shield Law Privilege

   

8.4.4.3

Sanctions for Nondisclosure

 

8.4.5

Motive, Point of View and Investigative Reporting

   

8.4.5.1

Spite, Hatred or Ill Will

   

8.4.5.2

Political Philosophy

   

8.4.5.3

Editorial Policy

   

8.4.5.4

Investigative Reporting

   

8.4.5.5

Consumer Affairs Reporting

 

8.4.6

Balance

   

8.4.6.1

Denials and Contradictions

   

8.4.6.2

The Opportunity to Respond

   

8.4.6.3

Follow-up Reports

 

8.4.7

Hot News and Careless Error

   

8.4.7.1

Careless Errors Generally

   

8.4.7.2

Improper Identification

   

8.4.7.3

Hot News and Broadcasting

 

8.4.8

Interview Techniques

 

8.4.9

Reliance on Newsgathering by Others

   

8.4.9.1

Staff Members

   

8.4.9.2

Syndicated Authors and Freelancers

   

8.4.9.3

Wire Services

   

8.4.9.4

Previously Published Information

   

8.4.9.5

Letters to the Editor

 

8.4.10

Cyber-Libel

   

8.4.10.1

Immunity Under the Communications Decency Act

   

8.4.10.2

Anonymous Internet Speech

   

8.4.10.3

Libel by Linking

 

8.4.11

Post-Publication Conduct

Chapter 9
The Damage Assessment

9.1

Introduction

9.2

Constitutional Overlay on Damage Requirements

 

9.2.1

“Actual Injury”

 

9.2.2

Punitive Damages

   

9.2.2.1

A Constitutional Quartet on Punitive Damages

   

9.2.2.2

Corporate Defendants

9.3

Common Law Categories of Damages

 

9.3.1

Per Se, Per Quod, and the Presumption of Damages

 

9.3.2

Compensatory Damages

   

9.3.2.1

General Damages

   

9.3.2.2

Nominal Damages

   

9.3.2.3

Special Damages

 

9.3.3

Punitive Damages

9.4

State Statutory Rules

 

9.4.1

Types of Damages

 

9.4.2

Mitigation of Damages

 

9.4.3

Broadcasting

 

9.4.4

Other Statutory Provisions

9.5

Evaluating Damages Exposure: Relevant Factors

 

9.5.1

Content of the Defamation

 

9.5.2

The Type of Harm

 

9.5.3

Plaintiff's Prior Reputation

 

9.5.4

Similar Publications

 

9.5.5

Dissemination

 

9.5.6

The Imponderables

9.6

Specific Exclusions and Inclusions in Damages

 

9.6.1

Attorneys’ Fees and Costs of Litigation

 

9.6.2

Expenditures to Counteract the Defamation

 

9.6.3

Emotional Damages

Chapter 10
State Law Privileges

10.1

Introduction

10.2

The Fair Report Privilege

 

10.2.1

Common Law Rationale

 

10.2.2

Constitutional Dimensions of a Fair Report Privilege

 

10.2.3

When Does the Fair Report Privilege Apply?

   

10.2.3.1

Judicial Proceedings

   

10.2.3.2

Criminal Investigations and Arrest Reports

   

10.2.3.3

Legislative Proceedings

   

10.2.3.4

Public Meetings

 

10.2.4

Disseminating “Official” Communication

10.3

Losing the Fair Report Privilege

 

10.3.1

Substantial Accuracy

 

10.3.2

Fairness

 

10.3.3

“Malice” and the Fair Report Privilege

10.4

Absolute Privilege

 

10.4.1

Introduction

 

10.4.2

Judges, Lawyers, and Other Participants in Judicial Proceedings

   

10.4.2.1

Judges

   

10.4.2.2

Attorneys Involved in Judicial Proceedings

   

10.4.2.3

Relation of the Communication to Judicial Proceedings

   

10.4.2.4

Contemplated Judicial Proceedings

 

10.4.3

Executive and Administrative Communications

 

10.4.4

Legislators’ Privilege: Hutchinson v. Proxmire

 

10.4.5

Citizens’ Petitions

 

10.4.6

Consent

10.5

Qualified Privilege

 

10.5.1

Introduction

 

10.5.2

Roots of Qualified Privilege

 

10.5.3

Bases for Qualified Privilege

   

10.5.3.1

Protection of Publisher's Own Interest

   

10.5.3.2

Protection of Recipient's or Third Party's Interests

   

10.5.3.3

Common Interest

   

10.5.3.4

Public Interest

10.6

Abuse of Qualified Privilege

 

10.6.1

Negligence: An Obsolete Ground for “Abuse”

 

10.6.2

“Malice”

 

10.6.3

Reasonableness of Manner of Publication

Chapter 11
Privacy

11.1

The Twentieth-Century Tort

11.2

Intrusion

 

11.2.1

Where Can a Newsgatherer Go?

   

11.2.1.1

In Public

   

11.2.1.2

Within the Subject's Property Line

 

11.2.2

Overzealous Surveillance and the “Stake-Out”

11.3

Publication of Private Facts

 

11.3.1

Constitutional Law

 

11.3.2

The Common Law: Public Record Material

 

11.3.3

The Common Law: Nonpublic Record Material

   

11.3.3.1

Public Significance or “Newsworthiness”

   

11.3.3.2

Intimacy and Offensiveness

 

11.3.4

Infliction of Emotional Distress

 

11.3.5

Unlawfully Obtained “Private” Information

 

11.3.6

Consent

 

11.3.7

Standard of Care

 

11.3.8

Publicity

 

11.3.9

Identification

 

11.3.10

Who May Sue

11.4

False Light and Fictionalization

 

11.4.1

Defining the Tort

 

11.4.2

Creating a False Light

   

11.4.2.1

Embellishment and the Microcosm

   

11.4.2.2

Omission

   

11.4.2.3

Context and Implication

   

11.4.2.4

Error or Distortion

 

11.4.3

Offensiveness and Substantial Misrepresentation

 

11.4.4

Burdens and Privileges: Relationship to Defamation

 

11.4.5

The Standard of Care

 

11.4.6

Faction and Fiction

11.5

Commercial Appropriation and the Right of Publicity

 

11.5.1

The Tort and Its Exceptions

 

11.5.2

Appropriation for Commercial Purposes

Part II
LITIGATING THE LIBEL OR PRIVACY CASE

 

Chapter 12
Handling the Pre-Litigation Complaint

12.1

The Demand for Retraction

12.2

Formulating Internal Procedures

12.3

Retraction Statutes: The Constant Criterion

 

12.3.1

“Obsolete” Statutes

 

12.3.2

“Damages” Statutes

 

12.3.3

“Condition Precedent” Statutes

 

12.3.4

General Provisions

12.4

Broadcast Stations: Special Considerations

 

12.4.1

The Fairness Doctrine

 

12.4.2

The Personal Attack Rule

 

12.4.3

Political Broadcasting

   

12.4.3.1

The “Equal Opportunities” Doctrine

   

12.4.3.2

The “Editorializing” Rule

   

12.4.3.3

The “Reasonable Access” Rule

 

12.4.4

Indecency

12.5

General Procedures

Chapter 13
Litigation Prior to Trial

13.1

Introduction

13.2

The Pleadings Stage in Libel Litigation

 

13.2.1

Removal Jurisdiction

 

13.2.2

Personal Jurisdiction

 

13.2.3

Venue

   

13.2.3.1

Federal Court

   

13.2.3.2

State Court

 

13.2.4

Statutes of Limitations

 

13.2.5

Choice of Law

13.3

Motions Practice

 

13.3.1

Anti-SLAPP Motion

 

13.3.2

Motion to Dismiss

 

13.3.3

Motion for Summary Judgment

   

13.3.3.1

History and Importance of Summary Judgment

   

13.3.3.2

Timing and Strategy of Summary Judgment

 

13.3.4

Motion for Partial Summary Judgment

   

13.3.4.1

Motion for Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary or Permanent Injunction

 

13.3.5

Sanctions

13.4

Investigation and Discovery Proceedings

 

13.4.1

Introduction

 

13.4.2

Investigation

   

13.4.2.1

Reconstructing the Preparation of the Story

   

13.4.2.2

Shoring up Sources

   

13.4.2.3

Building a Background on the Plaintiff

 

13.4.3

Affirmative Discovery

   

13.4.3.1

The Theory of Affirmative Discovery

   

13.4.3.2

Discovery Techniques

     

13.4.3.2.1

Requests for Admission

     

13.4.3.2.2

Production of Documents

     

13.4.3.2.3

Interrogatories

     

13.4.3.2.4

Medical Discovery

     

13.4.3.2.5

Depositions

     

13.4.3.2.6

Expert Depositions

 

13.4.4

Defending Against Discovery

   

13.4.4.1

Protecting Sources and “Outtakes”

   

13.4.4.2

An Editorial Process Privilege

   

13.4.4.3

Financial Information

   

13.4.4.4

Witness Preparation

Chapter 14
The Libel Trial: An Essay

14.1

Introduction

14.2

Motions in Limine

14.3

Rulings of Law in Advance of Trial

14.4

Voir Dire

14.5

Opening Statement

14.6

Cross-Examination

 

14.6.1

Directed Verdict

14.7

Direct Examination

14.8

Closing Argument

14.9

Jury Instructions

14.10

Special Interrogatories

14.11

The Second Arena: “Winning the Battle, Losing the War”

14.12

Counterclaims

14.13

Bose Corp. v. Consumers Union: A Word About Appeals

APPENDICES

 

Appendix A
Libel Privilege Statutes

Appendix B
Libel Retraction Statutes

Appendix B-1
Uniform Correction or Clarification of Defamation Act

Appendix C
Statutes of Limitations

Table of Cases

Index

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