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First Amendment Case The Media Should Be Covering

May 19, 2012
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Washington, DC (May 17, 2012) – There is a case pending before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit which could have far reaching chilling effects on the First Amendment and the free flow of information if the Appellants were to prevail. The case is Daniel Parisi et al v Lawrence Sinclair et al Case No. 11-7077.

May 17, 2012 Amazon.com, Inc. by and through their Attorneys filed their Appellee Brief with the United States Court of Appeals:

United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit

Notice of Docket Activity

The following transaction was entered on 05/17/2012 at 9:47:23 PM EDT and filed on 05/17/2012

Case   Name: Daniel   Parisi, et al v. Lawrence Sinclair, et al
Case   Number:  11-7077
Document(s): Document(s)

Docket Text: APPELLEE BRIEF [1374337] filed by Amazon.com, Inc. [Service Date: 05/17/2012 ] Length of Brief: 9,909. [11-7077] (Evanson, Kymberly)

The above brief was filed in response to Appellant Brief filed April 16, 2012. Sinclair News recommends that readers read the entire and complete briefs to understand just what Plaintiffs claims are and what Amazon.com argues. Some of the more interesting and to the point sections of Amazon.com’s brief are:

The issue before this Court is narrow and straightforward: must an online bookseller stop selling a book based on mere allegations that its content is defamatory? The answer is no, particularly where, as here, a separate unchallenged ruling of the District Court determined the book was not defamatory. (Page 10 of 60)

and

Footnote 8 Page 11 of 60

Though Parisi alleges in his proposed supplemental complaint against Sinclair (that the District Court rejected) that Sinclair personally prepared a second edition of the book, he does not allege that Amazon.com published or distributed it. See App. Br. at 16. Moreover, Parisi’s record reference, Dkt. 158-1 at 24, does not establish that Sinclair published a second edition. Instead it refers to an unauthenticated Internet positing that Sinclair personally made autographed copies of the book available with a special dust jacket. Even if true, this does not constitute a republication. See Salyer v. S. Poverty Law Ctr., Inc., 701 F. Supp. 2d 912, 917 (W.D. Ky. 2009) (critical feature of republication is that the original text of the article was changed).

and

Court can affirm on the basis of law of the case or collateral estoppel. Parisi did not appeal the District Court’s ruling on the merits of his claims against the author of the book. As such, the Court’s rulings that Sinclair did not act with actual malice in writing the book and that Parisi suffered no damages as a result of the publication and distribution of the book are now the law of the case. (Page 23 of 60)

and

Parisi presented no facts, let alone “clear and convincing evidence” that Amazon.com acted with “actual malice” in distributing the Sinclair book after June 2010. Parisi’s circular argument is that Amazon.com had actual knowledge that the Sinclair Book was defamatory because it did not discontinue sales of the Sinclair Book, although some other sellers did. App. Br. at 58. Parisi has attempted to flood the Appendix with various online postings and items attacking Sinclair, but none of those materials pertain to Amazon.com or demonstrate that Amazon.com acted with actual malice at any time. The majority of Parisi’s “record”  is also inadmissible10, and drawn primarily from documents unrelated to the District Court order on appeal. For example, Parisi frequently cites to his own declaration filed in opposition to Sinclair’s motion to dismiss, which was not part of the record in opposition to the Booksellers’ dispositive motions because it was filed after briefing of those motions was complete. See A0562-0583 (Dkt. 98-1). Parisi also cites to a declaration filed in support of his motion to alter or amend the judgment, which was filed nearly three months after the District Court issued the opinion dismissing all claims against Amazon.com. A0605-0607. As discussed in section VI.(E), infra, the District Court considered these materials and, in its discretion, denied leave to file a supplemental complaint.

Footnote 10: The District Court granted motions to strike similar inadmissible materials submitted in opposition to the summary judgment motions of Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. See Minute Order dated 12/06/10 granting Amazon.com’s Motion to Strike; Minute Order dated 3/30/11 granting Barnes & Noble’s Motion to Strike.

(Pages 25-26 of 60)

and

To the contrary, the District Court has determined that the book is not defamatory because the author did not act with actual malice, and because no damage is attributable to the publication of statements in the Sinclair Book. See Dkt. 156. (Page 29 of 60)

On Friday April 13, 2012 Plaintiffs’ filed ‘JOINT Appendix’ in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. See below:

United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit

Notice of Docket Activity

The following transaction was entered on 04/13/2012 at 11:22:22 AM EDT and filed on 04/13/2012

Case   Name: Daniel   Parisi, et al v. Lawrence Sinclair, et al
Case   Number:  11-7077
Document(s): Document(s)

 

Docket Text: JOINT APPENDIX [1368727] filed [Volumes: 1] [Service Date: 04/13/2012 ] [11-7077] (Oparil, Richard)

It should be noted that Plaintiffs’ have filed a portion of the Joint Appendix under Court Seal which consists of three (3) pages.

United States Court of Appeals for District of Columbia Circuit

Notice of Docket Activity

The following transaction was entered on 04/16/2012 at 10:54:06 AM EDT and filed on 04/16/2012

Case   Name: Daniel   Parisi, et al v. Lawrence Sinclair, et al
Case   Number:  11-7077
Document(s): Document(s)

Docket Text:APPELLANT BRIEF [1368942] filed by Daniel Parisi, White House Communications Inc., Whitehouse Network LLC and Whitehouse.com Inc. [Service Date: 04/16/2012 ] Length of Brief: 13423 words. [11-7077] (Oparil, Richard)

Sinclair News believes that the on going Parisi et al v Sinclair et al, is an important First Amendment case which all Author’s, Booksellers, Publishers, and Book Distributors should be paying attention to. Amazon.com makes valid points in its Appellee Brief by noting that despite a District Court ruling finding the Book Barack Obama & Larry Sinclair: Cocaine, Sex, Lies & Murder? NOT to be defamatory, Plaintiffs continue to argue Amazon somehow should be held liable for defamation because Amazon.com did not stop selling a book like some other booksellers in response to Plaintiffs mere allegations.

If Plaintiffs were to prevail any and all Author’s would have their ability to publish their works severely limited. There is no doubt this case has deliberately been ignored by the Mainstream Media, yet the Mainstream Media has had no problem citing the rulings in this case in efforts to defend themselves from defamation claims. See Dean vs NBC Universal. Authors beware, as there is a case which attempts to chill your ability to publish and distribute your writings with just a ‘mere allegation that it is defamatory.’

The First Amendment applies to all and is not meant to be denied or hampered based solely on whether someone alleges defamation.

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