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Obsidian Finance Group, LLC, et al., v. Crystal Cox

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  1. Libel and Privacy

Kevin Padrick and Obsidian Finance Group, LLC sued blogger Crystal Cox, claiming that Cox libeled them through a series of postings on her Internet blog. The trial court jury ruled in favor of Padrick and Obsidian and returned a $2.5 million verdict in their favor. Cox moved for a new trial, which was denied. The decision in the trial court below turned on whether she was a journalist and whether her speech involved a matter of public concern – both of which affects the standard of liability under Oregon law. We argued that trial courts must not determine whether someone is a journalist based on what a journalist’s job traditionally has been; rather, any test must be closely matched to the constitutionally protected function journalists perform. We also argued that a matter of “public concern” must be defined broadly as well, to allow for a wide range of speech on topics that affect the public.

Obsidian Finance Group, LLC, et al., v. Crystal Cox