First Amendment & Media Defense

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For more than five decades, Walter | Haverfield has represented media, entertainment, and communications industry clients from around the county on First Amendment issues. With an eye toward preventing costly litigation, the group provides pre-publication libel and privacy review of scripts and news stories, as well as counsel regarding potential publisher liability for advertising and other editorial content. When litigation become necessary, we work tirelessly to obtain a favorable outcome at every possible stage of the proceedings. We also assist our clients in obtaining access to court records, proceedings, and other public information, as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and federal and state Freedom of Information Act laws. Our First Amendment and Media Defense Group takes a team approach, getting involved in the newsroom and the courtroom to protect the public's right to know.


The First Amendment & Media Defense group’s experience and services include the following:

  • Defends defamation claims arising out of both print and broadcast news and investigative reports.
  • Defends invasion of privacy, trespass, intentional infliction of emotional distress, wiretap, and other claims arising out of reporters' news gathering activities.
  • Defended copyright infringement claims brought against television and movie production companies wherein plaintiffs claimed that their transcripts and/or photographs had been used without their permission.
  • Instituted mandamus actions to force the release of public records by state and federal government agencies in compliance with state and federal Freedom of Information Act laws.
  • Defended civil rights claims brought jointly against local government officials and media claiming that they conspired to violate a plaintiff's civil rights.
  • Filed motions to quash subpoenas issued to reporters by both criminal and civil litigants seeking to obtain reporters' notes, outtakes, and/or the identity of the reporters' sources.
  • Defended claims of breach of contract and promissory estoppel asserted against reporters by sources claiming that the reporter had breached a promise of confidentiality.
  • Authored amicus briefs on behalf of diverse media coalitions in public records cases before the Ohio Supreme Court.

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