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In 2011, Dr. Volkman was convicted of drug-related charges for illegally prescribing pain medication leading to the deaths of at least 14 individuals. Eil, a journalist writing a book on Volkman's case, attended portions of that public trial. In 2012, Eil submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the exhibits introduced by the government at the trial. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) provided thousands of pages of responsive documents, some of which were redacted, but withheld the medical records of Volkman's living former patients and the death-related records of his deceased former patients. Eil sued to compel disclosure of the withheld records. The court granted Eil summary judgment, ordering the DEA to release the records with certain redactions. The First Circuit reversed. The district court's balancing of the public interest in disclosure against the relevant privacy interests was flawed because the court applied the wrong standard. The release of the requested records is unlikely to advance a valid public interest, given the amount of relevant information that Eil already has access to and the substantial privacy interests implicated by the records would outweigh any public interest in disclosure. View "Eil v. United States Drug Enforcement Administration" on Justia Law

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Appellants ("Customers") requested the Oklahoma Supreme Court reverse the Oklahoma Corporation Commission's ("Commission") Order Dismissing Cause and remand the underlying application to the Commission for a full hearing. Appellants were a group of six different individuals who were customers of the Defendant, Southwestern Bell Telephone d/b/a AT&T Oklahoma ("SWBT"). Customers filed their Application in 2015, asking the Commission to vacate or modify PUD 260 entered in 1989 in order "to redress the proven bribery and corruption perpetrated by Southwestern Bell Telephone Company [SWBT] that occurred in 1989 in relation to Oklahoma Corporation Commission's . . . Cause No. PUD (Public Utility Docket) 860000260 ("PUD 260")." The then-acting public utility division director for the Commission, initiated PUD 260 to determine how SWBT should distribute or utilize SWBT's surplus cash created by federal corporate tax reforms. Two of the three Commissioners approved the 1989 Order wherein it was determined that SWBT surplus revenue should not be refunded to its ratepayers. Commissioner Hopkins ("Hopkins"), was one of the two commissioners who voted in favor of the 1989 Order. Several years after the adoption of this Order, the public learned that Hopkins had accepted a bribe in exchange for assuring his favorable vote to the 1989 Order. Hopkins was indicted in 1993 and then later convicted for his criminal act. Commissioner Anthony announced in 1992 that he had been secretly acting as an investigator and informant in an ongoing FBI investigation concerning the conduct of his fellow commissioners and of SWBT. Following Hopkins' conviction, in 1997, Anthony, pro se, filed a document titled "Suggestion to the Court," advising the Supreme Court of the criminal misconduct of Hopkins and asked it Court to recall its mandate issued in Henry v. Southwestern Bell Telephone Co., 825 P.2d 1305. The Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The case was remanded back to the Commission which determined the matter should be closed in its entirety. The Commission's order was not appealed. In January 2010, Anthony again filed a "Suggestion for Sua Sponte Recall of Mandate, Vacation of Opinion, and Remand of Cause to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for Want of Appellate Jurisdiction with Brief in Support of Suggested Actions." The Oklahoma Supreme Court found it was bound to uphold the findings and conclusion of the Commission where they are "sustained by the law and substantial evidence." The Commission's Order Dismissing Cause contained overwhelming evidence and legal authority supporting its Order. The Order Dismissing Cause, Order No. 655899 was thus affirmed. View "Clements v. Southwestern Bell Telephone" on Justia Law

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Brunetti owns the clothing brand “fuct.” In 2011, individuals filed an intent-to-use application for the mark FUCT for items of apparel. The applicants assigned the application to Brunetti, who amended it to allege use of the mark. The examining attorney refused to register the mark under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1052(a), finding it comprised immoral or scandalous matter because FUCT is the past tense of “fuck,” a vulgar word, and is therefore scandalous. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed. The Federal Circuit reversed. While substantial evidence supports the Board’s findings and it did not err concluding the mark comprises immoral or scandalous matter, section 2(a)’s bar on registering immoral or scandalous marks is an unconstitutional restriction of free speech. The bar is a content-based restriction on speech; trademark registration is not a government subsidy program that could justify such a bar. Nor is trademark registration a “limited public forum,” in which the government can more freely restrict speech. The bar survives neither strict nor intermediate scrutiny. Even if the government had a substantial interest in protecting the public from scandalous or immoral marks, the regulation does not directly advance that interest because section 2(a) does not directly prevent applicants from using their marks. View "In re: Brunetti" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit dismissed NTCH's petition for review of an Enforcement Bureau order based on lack of jurisdiction. The court held that it had no jurisdiction to entertain NTCH's challenge to the order issued by the Bureau because NTCH did not first seek review with the Commission as a condition precedent to judicial review. The court further held that, even if NTCH's claim fell within the compass of 47 U.S.C. 208(b), the court still did not have jurisdiction to address it. In this case, the order issued by the Bureau was not an order of the Commission. View "NTCH, Inc. v. FCC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the request of Relators - Cincinnati Enquirer and Columbus Dispatch - for a writ of mandamus seeking to compel the release of unreacted reports on the autopsies of eight members of the Rhoden and Gilley families, who were murdered in Pike County in 2016. The court also denied the Enquirer’s motion for oral argument and the Dispatch’s motion to compel access to unreacted autopsy reports filed under seal with the Supreme Court. The Enquirer filed this original action against the Pike County Coroner’ Office seeking a writ of mandamus to compel release of the final autopsy reports regarding the eight decedents. The Dispatch filed a separate original action in this court seeking the same relief. Redacted copies of the eight final autopsy reports were subsequently released. The Supreme Court subsequently permitted the unreacted autopsy reports to be filed under seal. The Supreme Court denied the Enquirer’s and the Dispatch’s motions and the requested writ of mandamus, holding that autopsy reports qualify as confidential law enforcement investigatory records (CLEIR), and therefore, the information is exempt from public disclosure pursuant to the CLEIR exception while the investigation into the murders is ongoing. View "State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Pike County Coroner's Office" on Justia Law

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Bartholomew publishes Christian ministry music and is a volunteer national spokesperson and the opening act for "Mission: PreBorn" concerts. Bartholomew wrote a pro-life song, “What Was Your Name,” produced a video for the song, and created an account with YouTube, agreeing to be bound by its terms of service. Bartholomew uploaded the video to YouTube, which assigned a URL so that it could be viewed on the internet. Bartholomew publicly shared the URL. By the time YouTube removed it, she claims, the video had been viewed over 30,000 times. The URL for Bartholomew’s video opened an internet page with the image of a distressed face and a statement: This video has been removed because its content violated YouTube’s Terms of Service.’ The screen did not refer to Bartholomew. It contained a hyperlink to a list of examples and tips, YouTube’s “Community Guideline Tips.” Bartholomew sued, claiming that the statement and the Guidelines harmed her reputation (libel per quod). The court of appeal affirmed dismissal, reasoning that, given the breadth of YouTube’s terms of service, and even taking into consideration Bartholomew’s profession, the statement cannot be deemed to subject her to “hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy, or [cause her] to be shunned or avoided” or tend to “injure [her] in [her] occupation.” View "Bartholomew v. YouTube, LLC" on Justia Law

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After receiving the answer to two certified questions from the Nevada Supreme Court, the Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's defamation suit. The Nevada Supreme Court held that a hyperlink to source material about a judicial proceeding may suffice as a report within the common law fair report privilege, and that the online petition, as it existed when plaintiff's complaint was filed, fell within the purview of Nevada's fair report privilege. The state court also held that, pursuant to Delucchi v. Songer, 396 P.3d 826 (Nev. 2017), Nevada's anti-SLAPP statute covers communication that is aimed at procuring any governmental or electoral action, result or outcome which is truthful or is made without knowledge of its falsehood, even if that communication was not addressed to a government agency. In this case, plaintiff failed to allege knowledge of falsity, much less facts to support such a conclusion. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's request for additional discovery and the district court's application of the anti‐SLAPP statute to this case. View "Adelson v. Harris" on Justia Law

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Team sells materials to help individuals profit in multi-level marketing businesses. Doe anonymously runs the “Amthrax” blog, in which he criticizes multi-level marketing companies and Team. Doe posted a hyperlink to a downloadable copy of the entirety of “The Team Builder’s Textbook,” copyrighted by Team. After Team served the blog’s host with a take-down notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. 512, Doe removed the hyperlink. Team filed suit, seeking only injunctive relief and that the court identify Doe. Doe asserted fair-use and copyright-misuse defenses and that he has a First Amendment right to speak anonymously. The court ultimately entered summary judgment for Team, found that unmasking Doe “was unnecessary to ensure that defendant would not engage in future infringement” and that “defendant has already declared ... that he has complied with the proposed injunctive relief” by destroying the copies of the Textbook in his possession such that “no further injunctive relief is necessary.” The Sixth Circuit remanded with respect to unmasking Doe; the district court failed to recognize the presumption in favor of open judicial records. View "Signature Management Team, LLC v. Doe" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the FCC's order denying Press's application for review of the FCC Media Bureau's decision. The court held that FCC regulations, decisions, and practice support the Commission's contention that applications for minor modifications are subject to the spacing requirements articulated in 47 C.F.R. 73.207. Any nonconforming application requires a waiver of that rule, and Press failed to justify such waiver. Therefore, the FCC's Order was valid based on the failure of Press's proposed channel swap with Equity to comply with the applicable short spacing bar or establish its entitlement to a waiver of that bar. Because the short spacing defect was independently sufficient to support the order, the court did not reach Press's alternative argument. View "Press Communications LLC v. FCC" on Justia Law

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The underlying suit involved a loan foreclosure. The borrowers filed a cross-complaint against MCC, alleging fraud, despite being advised MCC had no involvement in the transaction involved in the lawsuit. The borrowers mistakenly identified MCC as an agent of the lender and a loan servicer and continued the lawsuit despite being warned that it should be dismissed. After the borrowers settled the main lawsuit against them, they filed a voluntary dismissal in favor of MCC. MCC then sued the borrowers for malicious prosecution. The borrowers filed an anti-SLAPP motion (Code of Civil Procedure 425.16(b)(1)) to dismiss. The court of appeal affirmed the denial of the motion, concluding that MCC met its burden under step two of the anti-SLAPP analysis, demonstrating a probability of success on its claim for malicious prosecution. There was no evidence of any research done before filing the cross-complaint seeking $300 million in damages; the borrowers were notified no fewer than four different times that MCC was the wrong entity to sue. View "Medley Capital Corp. v. Security National Guaranty, Inc." on Justia Law