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S&B Prevails in a Published Ninth Circuit Opinion

S&B has prevailed in a published Ninth Circuit opinion involving entertainment litigation arising under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In John Doe v. Gangland Productions, Inc. (Ninth Circuit case number 11-56325), S&B represented a former prison gang member turned police informant who filed a lawsuit against the producers of Gangland, a documentary series that aired on the History Channel (owned by A&E). The case arose from A&E's failure to conceal the Plaintiff’s identity during an interview which aired on the program, even though Plaintiff claimed he conditioned his participation in the interview on having his identity concealed. Plaintiff filed the lawsuit in the Central District of California under the pseudonym "John Doe" to protect his identity. A&E and the production company challenged the lawsuit under California’s anti-SLAPP statute alleging that the claims arose from protected First Amendment conduct and that Plaintiff could not show any merit to his claims. After Plaintiff prevailed before federal judge Andrew Guilford, A&E appealed the adverse ruling to the Ninth Circuit, which affirmed Judge Guilford’s ruling as to the majority of Plaintiff’s claims. In a published opinion, the Ninth Circuit panel unanimously found that Plaintiff’s "identity was not of legitimate public concern" and allowed his case to proceed. Handling appellate attorney Eric Schiffer was quoted in several news publications, including The Daily Journal, The National Law Journal, and Law 360. If you wish to read the Ninth Circuit’s opinion, click here.

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