Media Litigation

Butzel Long's media practice has the rare breadth and depth of experience in the media litigation arena. Our attorneys regularly represent the news media regarding libel, defamation, invasion of privacy, newsroom counseling, state and federal Freedom of Information Acts, Open Meetings Act disputes, admission to courtrooms and public proceedings, and access to public documents. Whether on the trial or appellate level, we have successfully represented media organizations with their legal challenges.

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  • Johnson v. Herald-Palladium. Obtained dismissal of defamation lawsuit prior to start of discovery
  • United States v. Koubriti, 252 F. Supp. 2d 424, 31 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1940 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (closure of voir dire in first post 9-11 terrorism trial)
  • Successful defense of Benjamin Spock in breach of contract action
  • Teamsters Local 372 v. Detroit Newspaper Agency. Defended employer in § 1983 suit brought by unions and bringing RICO counterclaim. Successful survived multiple motions to dismiss RICO counterclaim. 956 F. Supp. 753 (1997); 993 F. Supp. 1052 (1998)
  • Tomkiewicz v. Detroit News, 246 Mich. App. 662 (2001). Represented newspaper in defending defamation and privacy suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of defendant
  • Successfully obtained summary disposition in defamation action.
  • Kevorkian v. American Medical Association, 237 Mich. App. 1, 602 N.W.2d 233; 28 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1532 (1999) (libel claim by Dr. Jack Kevorkian)
  • Submitted multiple amicus briefs in various courts on media issues for multiple clients, including media associations, newspapers and broadcasters
  • Cecil Fielder v. Greater Media, Inc., No. 267495 (Mich. App. July 25, 2006) (unpublished) (libel lawsuit by former Detroit Tigers All-Star)
  • Television and Newspaper Publiser Litigation
  • Represented numerous media entities in defamation and invasion of privacy cases.
  • Represented a regional news publishing company in connection with a defamation against one of its newspapers
  • Detroit News, Inc. v. Recorder's Court Judge, 202 Mich. App. 595 (1993) (access to court records)
  • Detroit Free Press v. Ashcroft, 303 F.3d 681, 30 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2313 (6th Cir. 2002) (closure of immigration proceedings)
  • Defense of libel suit. Case dismissed and sanctions imposed against plaintiff.
  • Represented a radio station in lawsuit brought over advertisement
  • Defended music company in copyright action
  • Defended music company in copyright action
  • Pesta v. CBS, Inc. (60 Minutes), 653 F. Supp. 350 (E.D. Mich. 1986); 686 F. Supp. 166 (E.D. Mich. 1988); 837 F.2d 1091 (6th Cir. 1988). Represented defendants and ultimately obtained jury verdict of no-cause after multi-week trial.
  • Represented employer in successfully obtaining injunction against picket line violence.
  • Fronning v. Jenny Jones Show, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 5725 (6th Cir. 1996) (invasion of privacy claim by stripper who appeared on Jenny Jones show)
  • Detroit News v. City of Detroit. Represented newspaper in lawsuit under Michigan Freedom of Information Act for release of text messages involving Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick and his Chief of Staff. Michigan Supreme Court Docket No. 135841
  • Johnson v. McGraw-Hill, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10148, 44 Fed. R. Serv. 3d 1192 (E.D. Mich. 1999) and Erwin v McGraw-Hill, No. 97-CV-72704, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 7109 (E.D. Mich. 1998) (libel/privacy by NBA star’s agent)
  • Lins v Evening News Association, 129 Mich. App.419, 426 (1983). Represented newspaper in defending defamation suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment
  • Successfully obtained summary disposition in defamation action.
  • Pesta v. CBS Inc., 686 F. Supp. 166; 15 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1798 (E.D. Mich. 1988), on remand from 837 F.2d 1091 (6th Cir. 1988) (libel action by doctor arising out “60 Minutes” Broadcast)
  • Olympia Entertainment Inc. v. Brass Ring Productions. Represented plaintiff in series of commercial disputes, successfully obtaining partial summary disposition and injunctive relief. 467 Mich. 855 (2002); 2002 Mich. App. LEXIS 621.
  • In re DaimlerChrysler AG Sec. Litig., 216 F.R.D. 395, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15145 (E.D. Mich. 2003) (reporters’ privilege arising out of publication of book on the Daimler/Chrysler merger)
  • Erwin v. Detroit News, 29 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1863 (Mich. App. 2001) (libel claim by sports agent)
  • Michigan v. Schmitz, 24 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2535 (Mich. App. 1996) (court access involving murder trial arising out of “same sex-crush” Jenny Jones show)
  • Defended music company in copyright action
  • Locricchio v. Evening News Ass’n, 438 Mich. 84; 476 N.W.2d 112 (1991); cert. denied, 503 U.S. 907 (1992) (libel case involving reporting on mafia connections to Pine Knob)
  • Northland Wheels Skating Center, Inc. v. Detroit News et al, 213 Mich. App 317 (1995). Represented newspaper in defending defamation suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment
  • Litigation over First Amendment rights of musicians to perform in the subway system
  • Detroit Newspaper Agency v. Local 372. Represented employer in successfully obtaining injunction against picket line violence.
  • Hamilton v. Detroit News, 2008 Mich. App. LEXIS 1729 (Mich. App. Aug. 26, 2008) (unpublished) (libel/privacy by prominent club owner)
  • Represented CBS Sixty Minutes in multi-year libel litigation culminating in a "no cause" verdict.
  • Represented international advertising agency in overturning a $44 million judgment.
  • Fewins v. Grand Traverse Record Eagle, Case No. 08-8223-NO (Benzie County Circuit Court) (defamation case brought by county sheriff)
  • Represented the Prime Minister of Greece in libel litigation in London. Case successfully settled prior to trial.
  • Defended record publisher in copyright litigation
  • Represented a national cable entertainment news show in connection with a defamation action
  • International Sports Marketing v. Saatchi & Saatchi North America, Inc. Obtained reversal of trial court’s imposition of default judgment in excess of $20M against client. 2002 Mich. App. LEXIS 1877, December 3, 2002
  • Challenge by group of journalists to ban on travel to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base to report on refugees detained there
  • Represented a boxing promoter in libel and contract litigation
  • Cross v. Detroit News, 29 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2439 (Mich. App. 2001) (libel claim by business owner)
  • Defended television station in trademark/copyright action
  • Stratton v. WJRT et al, 2005 Mich. App. LEXIS 23 (2005) (libel/privacy involving media ride-along)
  • American Transmission v. Channel 7 of Detroit, 239 Mich. App. 695; 609 N.W.2d 607; 28 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 1823 (2000) (libel/other torts involving “Call for Action” investigation)
  • Garvelink v. Detroit News, 206 Mich. App. 604 (1994). Represented newspaper in defending defamation suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment
  • Defending newspaper against defamation and related tort action.
  • Newspaper Publisher Litigation
  • Curtis v Evening News Association, 135 Mich. App.101, 103 (1984). Represented newspaper in defending defamation suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment
  • Lifestyle Lift v. Merideth Corp., Case No. 08 096448 NO (Oakland County Circuit Court) (defamation case arising out of news broadcast on company that promotes a 24-hour recovery after its mini-facelift procedure)
  • Rahn v. The Detroit News. Represented newspaper in defending defamation suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of defendants.
  • Koczenasz v. The Flint Journal. Represented newspaper in defending defamation/privacy/intentional infliction of emotional distress suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment in favor of defendants
  • People v. Pastor (In re March 1999 MSU Riots), 463 Mich. 378, 617 N.W.2d 310, 2000 Mich. LEXIS 1493, 28 Media L. Rep. (BNA) 2398 (2000) (reporter’s privilege arising out of riots at MSU following NCAA “March Madness” game)
  • Defended movie studio in copyright action
  • Duran v The Detroit News, 200 Mich. App.622 (1993). Represented newspaper in defending defamation/privacy/intentional infliction of emotional distress suit. Successfully obtained summary judgment.
  • Shumake v. WJBK. Successfully obtained dismissal of defamation/privacy claims against defendant broadcasters
  • Booth Newspapers v. 12th District Court Judge, 172 Mich. App. 688 (1988). Successful challenge to statute barring access to preliminary examination in rape case.
  • The Detroit News v. Wayne County. Successfully represented newspaper in lawsuit under Michigan Freedom of Information Act for release of salary information. Michigan Court of Appeals Docket No. 235831.
  • Successfly represented newspaper in Freedom of Information lawsuit involving (now former) Mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick
  • McIntosh v. The Detroit News, 2009 Mich. App. LEXIS 128; 37 Media L. Rep. 1193 (2009) (unpublished) (libel/fair report privilege)
  • Successfully obtained summary disposition in defamation action.
  • Represented church group in successful challenge on First Amendment grounds to charitable solicitation ordinance
  • Represented a major motion picture studio in one of the leading "substantial similarity" literary copyright infringement cases in the Sixth Circuit