Justia Communications Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Nevada
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The Supreme Court vacated the district court's award of attorney fees and costs to the Las Vegas Review-Journal (LVRJ), which had petitioned the district court to compel production of unreacted juvenile autopsy reports under the Nevada Public Records Act (NPRA) after the Clark County Coroner's Office refused, holding that a governmental entity is not immune from an attorney fees award to which a prevailing records requester is entitled under Nev. Rev. Stat. 239.011. The Coroner's Office argued that it may refuse to disclose a juvenile autopsy report once it has provided the report to a Child Death Review (CDR) team and that juvenile autopsy reports may include sensitive information that may be properly redacted as privileged. The Coroner's Office further argued that action 239.012 immunizes a governmental entity from an award of attorney fees when that entity withholds public records in good faith. The Supreme Court held (1) Nev. Rev. Stat. 423B.407(6)'s applies strictly to the CDR team as a whole; (2) the district court erred when it ordered the production of unreacted juvenile autopsy reports; and (3) the award of attorney fees must be vacated because it cannot yet be determined whether LVRJ is a prevailing party in its underlying NPRA action. View "Clark County Office of the Coroner v. Las Vegas Review-Journal" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying an anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss in a tort action, holding that, in determining whether the communications were made in good faith, the court must consider the "gist or sting" of the communications as a whole, rather than parsing each individual word in the communications to assess it for its truthfulness. In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged libel per se, slander per se, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Defendant filed an anti-SLAPP special motion to dismiss. The district court denied the motion, determining that Defendant did not meet her burden under the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis because she did not show that the statements were made in good faith. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the district court erred in its analysis of whether Defendant's statements were made in good faith; and (2) Defendant showed by a preponderance of the evidence that she made the statements in good faith under the first prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis, and Plaintiff could not demonstrate with prima facie evidence a probability of prevailing on this claim under the second prong. View "Rosen v. Tarkanian" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court granted in part a petition for a writ of prohibition or mandamus challenging a discovery ruling compelling Petitioner to disclose the identity of his sources in a tort action, holding that digital media falls within the protections of Nev. Rev. Stat. 49.275. The current version of section 49.275 protects journalists who are associated with newspapers, press associations, periodicals, and radio and television programs from mandatory disclosure of confidential sources. Petitioner in this case was a blogger who was sued for defamation. During discovery, Petitioner invoked the news shield statute under section 49.275 and refused to provide the identity of his sources. Respondent filed a motion to compel Petitioner to reveal his sources, arguing that the news shield statute does not apply to bloggers. The district court granted the motion to compel. Petitioner then filed this petition challenging that decision as well as the order allowing limited discovery. The Supreme Court granted the writ in part, holding that digital medial falls within the protections of section 49.275 but that the case required a remand so the district court could reconsider whether Petitioner's blog fell within the protection of the statute. View "Toll v. Honorable James Wilson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting Las Vegas Review-Journal’s amended petition for a writ of mandamus under the Nevada Public Records Act requesting that the district court compel the Clark County School District (CCSD) to disclose certain records requested by the Review-Journal, holding that the district court did not err by ordering disclosure of the records, but reversed the court’s redaction order and remanded this case for further proceedings. At issue was CCSD employee complaints alleging inappropriate behavior, including sexual harassment, by an elected trustee. After an investigation was launched into the issue, the Review-Journal sought records regarding the investigation. After reviewing CCSD’s withheld documents and privilege log, the district court granted the Review-Journal’s writ of mandamus regarding the withheld records. In its redaction order, the district court only ordered that the names of direct victims of sexual harassment or alleged sexual harassment, students, and support staff may be redacted. The Supreme Court noted that the list excluded teachers or witnesses that may face backlash for being part of the investigation and then adopted a two-part burden-shifting test to determine the scope of redaction of names of persons identified in the investigative report with nontrivial privacy claims and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Clark County School District v. Las Vegas Review-Journal" on Justia Law

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Nev. Rev. Stat. 200.620, which prohibits a person from recording a telephone call unless both parties participating in the call consent to the recording, does not apply to the recording of interstate calls when the act of recording takes place outside Nevada. Respondent filed this class action suit against Appellant, a Delaware LLC that has its customer call centers equipped to record telephone calls in Arizona and Minnesota, alleging that Appellant violated section 200.620 by unlawfully recording certain telephone conversations without Respondent’s consent. The federal district court decided to certify a question concerning the applicability of section 200.620. The Supreme Court answered that the statute does not apply to recordings of telephone conservations with a person in Nevada without that person’s consent when the recordings are made by a party who is located and uses recording equipment outside of Nevada. View "Ditech Financial LLC v. Buckles" on Justia Law