Man Sued Over Negative Online Review Highlights SLAPP Concerns

A Florida dog owner was recently sued for a negative review posted online, highlighting concerns regarding Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits, CBS News reports. Defendant Tom Lloyd took his sick dog to DeLand Animal Hospital where he was told that the animal would need emergency surgery. Six hours later the hospital informed him that it was unable to locate a surgeon. Lloyd then took the dog to another veterinary clinic that told him it was too late for surgery and the dog would need to be euthanized. He subsequently posted the unfavorable online review in question, when the reviewed hospital and veterinarian sued him shortly thereafter for defamation, claiming his statements were "false" and "published maliciously and recklessly." This case was settled after Lloyd participated in an interview with CBS; however, similar suits have been recently filed in New York, Kansas and South Carolina. While some states, including Tennessee, have laws against SLAPP lawsuits, there are no federal laws barring the practice. Tennessee's law became effective July 1.

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DOJ Launches Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this month introduced a new initiative that will incorporate law enforcement efforts with other federal agencies to address fraud schemes that target the elderly. The Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force will feature an amalgamation between the DOJ’s Consumer Protection Branch, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for six federal districts, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and several other organizations. In addition to this partnership, each U.S. Attorney’s Office will have an Elder Justice Coordinator to assist with operations. FBI Director Christopher Wray said of the strike force: “We’re committed to keeping our elderly citizens safe, whether they’re being targeted door-to-door, over the phone, or online … Our new Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force will give us additional resources and tools to identify and stop those who are targeting our senior communities.”

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Fox New's Wallace Chides DNC Decision to Exclude Network from Debate Coverage

Fox News reporter Chris Wallace criticized the recent decision by the DNC to ban the news station from airing its 2020 primary debates, calling the move “shortsighted,” The New York Times reports. The DNC decided to exclude Fox News from coverage following a New Yorker article which alleges an inappropriate relationship between the network and President Trump. “There are a lot of voters that a Democrat is going to need to get elected president who watch Fox News. People in the Rust Belt states, the rural areas that Hillary Clinton lost. They would have been able to see the Democratic candidates make their arguments about why they’re better able to represent their interests,” said Wallace regarding the boycott. Wallace also alluded to what he described as “a visceral antipathy to Fox News” by the left as motivation for the network’s exclusion.

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This Month: Communication Law Section to Host First Annual Reporter's Workshop

The Tennessee Bar Association’s Communication Law Section, in cooperation with the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters, will hold the inaugural Reporters Workshop at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville on May 17-18. Twelve print, online, television and radio journalists will be selected to complete the training, which will focus on access to government information, defamation and privacy concerns in reporting and other timely, ripped from the headlines topics. Applications for the workshop are due by March 29. For additional information, contact TBA program coordinator Jennifer Vossler.

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GDPR Privacy Complaints Filed Against Google in the EU

Privacy complaints against Google have been filed in Ireland and Britain by Brendan Eich, known for being the creator of JavaScript, co-founding the web browser Mozilla and founding the private web browser Brave, Reuters reports.  The European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new privacy law that had a two-year lead-in period to provide time for companies to comply. However, the complaint argues that Google and the advertising technology industry are not processing personal data in a way that properly secures it.  Noncompliance with the GDPR carries heavy fines for serious violations. This test case could trigger an article in the GDPR and spur an EU-wide investigation.

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Communication Law Forum 2018


The TBA Communication Law Section will host its annual forum at the Tennessee Bar Center on May 9. This insightful program will focus on timely topics beneficial to lawyers of all areas seeking to up their game by staying on top of trends involving both federal laws and regulations on a local level.

This year's pulled from the headlines presentations will focus on open government, lawsuits concerning speech, reporter's privilege and an award-winning investigative journalist discussing a 'fair and responsible press.' The program will also include recent updates in Tennessee public records cases, designed to keep you clued in on important developments affecting your practice. Here’s the key info:

  • When: Wednesday, May 9, registration begins at 8:30 a.m., CDT
  • Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 4th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37219
  • CLE Credits: 3 General


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