Category Archives: Damages

Defamation in the Era of Fake News

When I was a kid there were three major television networks and a relatively limited number of print publications. A great deal of capital was needed to become one of the few voices in mass media.

Now, in the Internet era, anyone with a computer and an Internet connection can be a publisher. This has democratized media, for better or for worse. The better part – lower barriers to entry for speakers – has been offset by, shall we say, degraded standards for accuracy and journalistic integrity. Witness the current dialogue over “fake news.”

With the proliferation of speakers has come a proliferation of people claiming that they have been defamed. read more

The Gripping Saga of Pre-Judgment Interest in Business Litigation

This article, like most others covering a topic as dull as pre-judgment interest, doesn’t make for the most exciting reading. That excitement usually occurs after a business trial, during the conversation between a client and his lawyer who failed to properly consider how to handle a potential award of pre-judgment interest – the interest that accrues on an alleged obligation from a time prior to trial to the date of entry of judgment.

In a business case, it is not unusual for the disputed events to occur at least a year, if not several years, before trial. Pre-judgment interest may therefore constitute a significant portion of the award sought at trial. read more

Damages in “Idea Submission” Cases

Among my clients are writers who developed an idea for a show or movie — anything from an outline or treatment to a full script – presented that idea to a studio or producer, and then afterwards believed the idea was used in a finished product without the author’s permission.  Although California courts have clearly determined such plaintiffs have potential claims, the amount or type of damages they can recover remains unsettled.

These cases rarely present a viable claim of copyright infringement.  A copyright claim should involve significant copying of expression, not merely alleged copying of ideas, themes or plot.  Additionally, few prospective plaintiffs want to proceed with a copyright claim when they hear that, if they lose, a   judgment could be entered against them for the other sides’ attorneys’ fees. read more