Legal updates: 2011

By on March 28, 2011

Below is a summary of legal updates from 2011:

Sept. 22, 2011

ONA, in partnership with Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the UNC Center for Media Law and Policy, presented Law School for Digital Journalists as part of the Pre-Conference day at ONA’s 2011 Conference & Awards Banquet in Boston.

July 1, 2011
ONA joined an amicus brief filed by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in the case of Baker v. Goldman Sachs.

The brief stems from a civil case in which Janet and James Baker accuse Goldman Sachs of breach of fiduciary duty. The Bakers merged their company, Dragon Systems, with a Belgian firm named L&H, only to allege, after the deal closed, financial fraud at L&H.

As part of the Baker’s suit against Goldman Sachs, who handled the merger, the Bakers sought the testimony of Jesse Eisinger, a Wall Street Journal reporter. Eisinger co-authored a series of articles about L&H that raised questions about L&H and noted possible fraud involving the company.

The Bakers issued a subpoena to depose Eisinger to establish how he, a journalist, uncovered the misconduct the Bakers’ say Goldman Sachs should have uncovered. Eisinger moved to quash the subpoena because “it seeks the fruits of newsgathering that are protected from these routine discovery demands by New York state law, the New York Constitution, and the First Amendment.” ONA joined a brief in support of this argument. Eisinger ultimately won and the subpoena was quashed.

On Feb. 15, 2012, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the order of the trial court in Baker v. Goldman Sachs quashing the subpoena issued to WSJ reporter Jesse Eisinger.  That opinion can be found here.

Jan. 31, 2011
ONA joined an amicus brief filed by the Citizen Media Law Project at Harvard Law School in the case of Simon Glik v. John Cunniffe.

Simon Glik was arrested in 2007 for using his cell phone to record police officers arresting a man on the Boston Common. The charges against Glik, which included violation of Massachusetts’s wiretap statute (based on recording audio of the incident) and two other state-law offenses, were ultimately dismissed. Glik then brought suit claiming that his arrest for recording the officers violated his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The complaint also brought state law claims against the individual officers for malicious prosecution and violation of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.

ONA joined an amicus brief in support of Glik filed by the Citizen Media Law Project, although it was not accepted by the court for reasons unknown.

Jan. 21-22, 2011
ONA conducted training session on “What You Need to Know about Internet Law” at ONA Camp in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Alison Schary

Alison Schary is ONA's general counsel. In her role at Davis Wright Tremaine, she represents and counsels clients on a wide range of issues in media and intellectual property law, including libel, privacy, copyright, newsgathering and First Amendment matters. Alison regularly defends clients against claims for defamation, privacy and newsgathering torts, and she has experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in intellectual property matters. Alison also advises newspaper, magazine, website, television and book-publishing clients on pre-publication and pre-broadcast legal issues.