Justia Communications Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Block v. New York Times Co.
This case arose from a New York Times article about Senator Rand Paul, which briefly quotes Walter Block, an economics professor. Block filed suit against defendants asserting claims for defamation and false light invasion of privacy. Although Block does not dispute that he made the statements at issue, he argues that the article takes the statements so far out of context as to make them untrue and defamatory. The district court granted a special motion to strike under Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article 971 (anti-SLAPP law), dismissed the complaint, and awarded defendants attorney's fees. In Lozovyy v. Kurtz, the court interpreted Louisiana law and concluded that “the Louisiana Supreme Court would recognize that Article 971’s ‘probability of success’ standard does not permit courts to weigh evidence, assess credibility, or resolve disputed issues of material fact.” Because the district court lacked the benefit of the court's recent guidance in Lozovyy, the court vacated and remanded for the district court to apply the standard. On remand, the district court should consider whether Block has established a genuine dispute of material fact on each element of his claims. View "Block v. New York Times Co." on Justia Law
Ybarra v. Dish Network, L.L.C.
Plaintiff filed suit against DISH for violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227, because DISH called plaintiff's cell phone 15 times to collect an unpaid balance. The district court granted partial summary judgment sustaining plaintiff's claims in regards to seven of the calls. The remaining calls were later settled. Concluding that the court has jurisdiction over the appeal, the court held that making a call in which a prerecorded voice might, but does not, play is not a violation of the TCPA. Instead, the prerecorded voice must “speak” during the call. DISH proferred that calls 2 through 5 did not result in a prerecorded voice being used because no prerecorded voice was played as these calls were not met by a positive voice. DISH conceded that phone calls number 1, 6, and 7 created TCPA liability. The court concluded that the district court erred in granting partial summary judgment to plaintiff for the seven calls where summary judgment should be granted to DISH on four of the seven calls and DISH conceded liability as to the remaining three calls. View "Ybarra v. Dish Network, L.L.C." on Justia Law