Monday, September 16, 2013

Doe v. Gangland Productions (9th Cir. - Sept. 16, 2013)


You produce a series on television (Gangland) and broadcast the identity of an informant, who told you a lot -- on camera -- about a particular gang.  He alleges that you agreed to conceal his identity (which you indisputably didn't); however, the release he signed expressly gives you the right to do what you did.  Unfortunately (for you), plaintiff claims that he's pretty much illiterate, and that you told him that the release was just a receipt for the $300 (!) you gave him.

The district court denied your anti-SLAPP motion, holding that the motion didn't satisfy the first part of the two-part test (i.e., that the cause of action didn't rise out of your First Amendment rights).  The Ninth Circuit disagrees.  Big win!!

Except for one thing.  The Ninth Circuit simultaneously finds that even though you prevail on the first prong, for most of the causes of action, you lose on the second.  Plaintiff has established that it's probable that he'll prevail on the merits.


That summary judgment motion that you were thinking about filing later on now looks much less likely to succeed.

Sometimes a victory on appeal ain't as good as it initially appears.