Porco v. Lifetime Entertainment Services, LLC

April 4, 2017

The Reporters Committee initially filed an amicus brief before the Appellate Division, Third Department in support if Lifetime Entertainment's challenge to a misappropriation suit over its program about convicted murder defendant Christopher Porco. The Supreme Court (trial court) had dismissed the case under the newsworthiness exception to New York Civil Rights Law Section 51. The Appellate Division, Third Department overturned the order dismissing the case, finding that one letter telling Porco's mother that she would be able to express her feelings about the murder in a separate "non-fictional program" is sufficient proof of substantial fictionalization to withstand a motion to dismiss, and thus negates the newsworthiness exception. This amicus brief supporting Lifetime's motion for permission to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, and highlights why allowing the Third Department's decision to stand would affect the news media.