Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Price v. Stossel (9th Cir. - Aug. 24, 2010)

Guess who the Ninth Circuit made very happy today? Shirley Sherrod.

As you undoubtedly know, was the Agriculture Department's director of rural development in Georgia who was fired from her job when an out-of-context video of a speech of hers was posted by a conservative blogger that made it appear as if she was making racist statements.

Sherrod had a press conference this morning in which she publicly rejected an offer to have her return to work, and in which she reiterated her earlier statement that she plans to sue Andrew Breitbart, who was the one who posted the edited video.

Coincidentally, at about the same time, the Ninth Circuit handed down this opinion. In a case that doesn't involve Sherrod, and doesn't even mention her, but which nonetheless is a huge boost to Sherrod's anticipated net worth, and should definitely lead Sherrod to look for personal jurisdiction somewhere in the Ninth Circuit. Since the opinion unanimously holds, in a case that's stunningly similar to Sherrod's, that a defendant -- here, John Stossel and CBS -- can indeed be sued for airing video footage of an actual speech if the video is edited out-of-context. Even in California, home of anti-SLAPP motions and perhaps the highest media protections in the U.S.

So a good morning for Shirley. Who should definitely give me a call if she's still looking for a lawyer. :-)