Wednesday, May 02, 2012

11th Circuit sides with Hustler

Yesterday we discussed dirty words.  Today Hustler: The case involves the publication of 20-year old nude photos of Nancy Benoit after she and her child were murdered by her husband Chris Benoit.  The jury awarded $19 million in punis against Hustler, which the judge reduced to $250k. 

The 11th Circuit said no punitives were permissible:
There was substantial, consistent, and uncontroverted testimony from numerous LFP employees showing that they honestly and reasonably (albeit mistakenly) believed at the time that the photographs fit under the newsworthiness exception to the right of publicity.
The strongest evidence supporting our conclusion that this mistake on LFP’s part was reasonable is the fact that the district court in this case initially dismissed Toffoloni’s case because the court agreed with LFP that the photographs met the newsworthiness exception. Toffoloni v. LFP Publ’g Grp., No. 1:08-cv-421-TWT, 2008 WL 4559866, at *2-3 (N.D. Ga. Oct. 6, 2008). Although that decision of the district court was ultimately reversed in Hustler I, we do not believe that publishers should be held to a higher standard than that of the learned district judge.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tough to be a plaintiffs lawyer in the 11th.