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 Media and First Amendment  

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Public Records
Defamation, Libel & Privacy
Rights Violations

PUBLIC RECORDS

The Louisiana Constitution, at Article 12, Section 3, provides that “No person shall be denied the right to observe the deliberations of public bodies and examine public documents, except in cases established by law.” 

This provision, and the cases that interpret the Louisiana Public Records Law and the Louisiana Open Meetings Law, protect your right to access government meetings and records. As counsel to citizens and media seeking information from government and quasi-government agencies, Sternberg, Naccari & White, LLC, has litigated public records and open government issues across Louisiana. Our breadth of experience and knowledge in public records and open meetings is of the highest caliber in the state. SNW attorneys are regularly quoted in the media as subject matter analysts on open government issues. Our experience includes:
  • Advising on public records and freedom of information act requests to state, local and federal government agencies and bodies
  • Challenges to meetings of government bodies which were not properly noticed under the Louisiana Open Meetings Law.
  • Challenges to public bodies that do not turn over public records upon request.
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Results


  • Successful in obtaining public records from the Louisiana Attorney General, including records, fees and costs.


  • Successful in multiple suits against local municipalities with award of attorney’s fees and costs. 


  • Complete defense of citizen sued by her government for attempting to access public records. 


  • Oversaw all stages of litigation resulting from a public record request to the District Attorney’s office following a national news story. The story, and this case, led to hearings before city council, ethics investigations, and a federal civil rights lawsuit. Our attorneys worked hand-in-hand with the media outlet to craft the initial and follow up requests and fought the DA’s office in trial on the way to achieving a successful verdict. Currently on appeal.

DEFAMATION, LIBEL & PRIVACY

Defamation is defined as a false statement of fact which is communicated to a third party about a person. Libel is written and slander is spoken defamation. Invasions of privacy are those disclosures of secretive, embarrassing information that is not newsworthy and private.

The lawyers at Sternberg, Naccari & White, LLC are experienced in defending the media and individuals who have been sued for defamation or invasion of privacy. Our experience includes:
  • Defending a false light and defamation claim by a public official against The Advocate.
  • Defending a defamation action against a business owner by one of his competitor.
  • Prosecuting an unfair trade practices claim against a former employee.
  • Defending a libel and invasion of privacy claim against a local reporter who reported on corruption in local government.
  • Consulting on high-stakes libel and invasion of privacy issues for authors and reporters throughout the state of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
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Results


  • Successful in obtaining full dismissal of libel action against major newspaper.
     

  • Negotiated favorable settlement for publisher sued for expressing his opinion on matter of public concern.


  • Achieved summary dismissal for a newspaper following the paper’s publication of a minor’s name in an arrest report. The newspaper could not be held liable for the publication since the report had flowed directly from the Sheriff’s office. 

RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

The laws of the state of Louisiana and the United States protect you from the government infringing upon your rights. When the government violates those rights, by restricting your freedom of speech or expression, religion, or some other fundamental right, the law provides you with remedies against your government.

Sternberg, Naccari & White, LLC has represented dozens of plaintiffs in actions against state and local government alleging violations of their rights. In addition, SNW attorney Scott Sternberg has been published in the area of expression on public school campuses. Our extensive experience in this area includes:
  • Civil Rights Claims for violations of First and Fourth Amendment Rights
  • Claims against government-funded schools, Colleges and Universities
  • Claims against governments for speech codes and ordinances restricting political and social speech.
  • Tort claims against government actors
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Results


  • Completely successful in civil rights violations against local municipality for oppressing employee speech, including damages, attorney’s fees and costs.


  • Negotiated settlement with local economic development quasi-public agency on behalf of employee wrongfully terminated.


  • Regularly representing students in actions against their Universities for violations of freedom of speech and association.

© 2018 by Sternberg, Naccari & White, LLC
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