Media & First Amendment
Clients across the media ecosystem regard us as crucial allies in disseminating information to the public. We offer accurate, up-to-the-minute guidance on issues fundamental to our clients’ everyday operations, from providing routine pre-broadcast and pre-publication reviews to responding quickly and strategically to a late-breaking emergency.
Our team has a keen understanding of media and First Amendment law. We can provide detailed analysis concerning newsgathering methods for in-depth investigative journalism, handle freedom of information requests and assist clients in gaining access to public meetings, courtrooms and public records. In the interactive media space, we counsel clients on managing online forums, user-generated content and policies relating to employees’ social media activity.
We know which techniques can be deployed before and after a story breaks to minimize legal exposure, and where necessary, we stand ready to defend our clients against alleged defamation, invasion of privacy and related claims, and trademark and copyright infringement claims.
Service Area Contact
Kevin T. Shook
- Pre-publication and pre-broadcast review and counseling.
- Responses to requests for retraction or correction.
- Responses to subpoenas, including motions to quash.
- Evaluating and defending against claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, related newsgathering torts, and copyright and trademark infringement and related claims.
- Litigation of lawsuits including conducting and defending discovery, trying jury and non-jury cases and briefing and arguing appeals.
- Access, sunshine laws, freedom of information and related First Amendment issues.
- Assisting clients in creating and managing forums, blogs and hyper-local reader generated news.
- Advising on policies relating to reader comments about news reports, editorials, blogs and other content posted on news websites.
- Advising on the use of social media for the delivery of news and content.
- Drafting and helping clients manage social media policies for their employees.
- Drafting website terms of service and privacy policies.
- Assisting in regulatory compliance and policy development regarding the use of “drone” unmanned aircraft.
- Obtained dismissal of defamation and tortious interference claims against newspaper; affirmed on appeal. Grubb & Associates LPA v. Brown, 2018-Ohio-3526, 119 N.E.3d 836 (9th Dist. Ohio Ct. App.)
- Obtained dismissal of defamation and false light claims brought by elected members of a village council against TV station. Elkins v. Scripps Media, Inc., Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 889733 (Dec. 13, 2018)
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal of defamation and false light claims against newspaper; affirmed on appeal. Pietrangelo v. Lorain County Printing & Publ’g Co., 2017-Ohio-8783, 100 N.E.3d 1028 (9th Dist. Ohio Ct. App.). The Ohio Supreme Court declined to accept appeal. 153 Ohio St.3d 1468 (2018).
- Represented amici media and First Amendment organizations in successful argument to Ohio Supreme Court that a village council violates Ohio’s Open Meetings Act when it elects a council officer by secret ballot. State ex rel. Bratenahl v. Bratenahl, 2019-Ohio-3233.
- Obtained order granting dismissal of trademark infringement counterclaims against newspaper. American City Business Journals, Inc. v. Parshall, Case No. 2:17-cv-00596, 2018 WL 4599843 (S.D. Ohio Sept. 25, 2018).
- Obtained writ of mandamus from Ohio Court of Appeals ordering Common Pleas judge to release jury questionnaires. State ex rel. Scripps Media Inc. d/b/a WCPO-TV v. Ghiz, 2017-Ohio-8965, 101 N.E.3d 1005 (1st Dist. Ohio Ct. App.)
- Successful defense of television stations against defamation claims brought by preacher arrested at Pride Parade. Spingola v. Sinclair Media, II., Inc., 2006-Ohio-6950, 2006 WL 3805680 (10th Dist. Ohio Ct. App. Dec. 28, 2006).
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal of defamation and false light claims against TV station. Nichols v. Mincks, Washington County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 18OT000061 (March 20, 2019).
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal of defamation and false light invasion of privacy claims against newspaper. Grubb & Associates, LPA v. Justice & Co., Inc., Medina County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 15CIV0076 (Feb. 1, 2016).
- Successfully represented numerous national news organizations in obtaining access to judicial proceedings in high-profile rape case and opposing motion to close proceedings. In re: Malik Richmond, Jefferson County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 2012 DL 138.
- Successfully represented national cable news broadcaster in obtaining access to court records and proceedings in the T.J. Lane Chardon High School murder case. In re: T.J.L., Geauga County, Ohio, Common Pleas, Juvenile Division, 12-JD-102.
- Obtained dismissal of defamation claims against newspaper. Flannery v. Portsmouth Daily Times, Inc., Scioto County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 13-CIH-202 (June 6, 2014).
- Obtained order from Ohio Court of Appeals prohibiting juvenile court judge from restricting media access to her courtroom. Ohio ex rel. Scripps Media, Inc., dba WCPO-TV v. Hunter, Hamilton No. C-130241, 2013 WL 6988396 (1st Dist. Ohio Ct. App.).
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal for a television station against a local dentist’s defamation claims; affirmed on appeal. Fuchs v. Scripps Howard Broadcasting Co. dba WCPO-TV Channel 9, et al., 170 Ohio App.3d 679, 2006-Ohio-5349, 868 N.E.2d 1024 (1st Dist.). The Ohio Supreme Court declined to accept appeal. 113 Ohio St.3d 1414 (2007).
- Obtained summary judgment dismissal of negligent advertising claim against broadcaster; affirmed on appeal. Amann v. Clear Channel Communications, Inc., 165 Ohio App.3d 291, 2006-Ohio-714, 846 N.E.2d 95 (1st Dist.). The Ohio Supreme Court declined to accept appeal. 110 Ohio St.3d 1411 (2006).
- Obtained dismissal of defamation claim against magazine. Murgatroyd v. Emmis Publ’g, L.P. d/b/a/ Cincinnati Magazine, No. 2007-16 (WOB) (E.D. Ky. Oct. 18, 2007).
- Successfully defended class action alleging violations of TCPA claims. Carradine Chiropractic Center, Inc. v. Posture Pro, Inc., Case No. 15-CV-02378-BYP (S.D. Ohio).
- Obtained summary judgment of all claims in defense of defamation case. Kabban v. Meridell Achievement Center, Warren County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 12-CV-83232.
- Obtained dismissal of all claims in defense of media client in defamation case. Keainns v. Rawlings, Mayor, Jackson County, Ohio, Common Pleas Case No. 07CIV268.
- Successful prosecution of counterfeiting, unfair competition and trademark claims. Sprint Solutions, Inc. v. Wireless Workshop, LLC, Case No. 1:16-CV-00482-SJD (S.D. Ohio)
- Successful prosecution of trademark infringement claims. The Ohio State University v. Ohio State Tire, Case No. 2:09-CV-01108-MHW-MRA (S.D. Ohio).
We believe in contributing our time and talent to the media bar. We are leaders of the Media Law Resource Center Defense Counsel Section and the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law. We lecture extensively on legal issues unique to media companies from traditional libel and privacy issues to legal issues quickly evolving from interactive and social media outlets. We also regularly speak at media law conferences sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America, National Association of Broadcasters, Practicing Law Institute, Media Law Resource Center, the American Bar Association and various state bar associations and are active with groups such as the Society of Professional Journalists.