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McFadyen v. Duke University

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials

Book author and blogger Robert David Johnson is appealing a U.S. Magistrate Judge’s opinion denying his request to quash a subpoena from Duke University seeking confidential, non-published communications between himself and several former Duke lacrosse players and their attorneys. Johnson began writing a blog concerning the fallout from a spring 2006 incident in which a stripper hired to perform at an off-campus house party accused several of the players of rape. Duke is facing civil suits from the former players. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Maine Press Association, MaineToday Media, Inc., Bangor Publishing Co., and Maine Association of Broadcasters argues that the magistrate judge disregards the important principle that journalists must be free to work independently of the judicial process, ignores the public interest in a reporter’s right to keep information confidential and dismisses the chilling effect that a decision like this will have on the public’s receipt of information in important controversies.

Ryan McFadyen et al v. Duke University