OR Case Update: Extra! Extra! Anti-SLAPP Law Kicks Out Lawsuit of Man Broadcasted Without Consent

From the desk of Jeffrey D. Eberhard: Can a person sue a news provider for showing his or her image in a video without their consent? In this case, a prison guard and his wife sued a TV news station and reporter after the prison guard was shown in front of his home for a few seconds. The footage was taken because of a nearby shooting and the broadcast was allowed only if the prison guard would not be shown on TV. However, dozens of inmates saw the broadcast and the prison guard felt the need to move out of his house, incurring expenses and causing emotional distress.

What kind of defenses does a provider of news have? Read on to see how the Oregon Court of Appeals addressed these questions.Claims Pointer: Like many states, Oregon has enacted laws called “anti-SLAPP” (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statutes that protect free speech activities. Oregon’s anti-SLAPP statute allows a defendant engaged in free speech to bring a special motion to strike the claim at the beginning of the case unless the plaintiff can show that he has a likelihood of winning his case. Here, the Court of Appeals reversed a trial court that erroneously determined that a defendants speech activities were not protected because they were not “necessary” to free speech. The Court clarified that the correct standard for determining if protected speech falls under the auspice of the statute is whether the claims arise out of conduct “in furtherance of” speech activities.

Mullen v. Meredith Corp., 271 Or App 698 (2015).

After a shooting in a Salem, Oregon neighborhood, KPTV news reporter, Mark Hanaran arrived at the scene with his camera crew and set up their camera pointing toward a row of homes, including that of Patrick and Sarah Mullen (The Mullens). During part of the recording, Patrick could be seen in the background in front of his home. Hanaran asked Patrick for permission to record his story in front of Patrick’s home, and Patrick agreed on the condition...

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