Tuesday, October 14, 2003

The Amway-P&G feud leads to ruling on privilege to republish court documents on the Internet

In Amway Corp. v. Procter & Gamble Co., the Sixth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Batchelder, joined by Judge Clay, and with District Judge Schwarzer concurring separately, held that under Michigan's statutory "fair reporting privilege," Procter & Gamble and its law firm, Cincinnati-based Dinsmore & Shohl, could not be liable for the posting of the text of pleadings on the Internet of complaints filed in court with allegations against Amway.

The memorable opinion begins: "Recitation of the extensive and hate-filled history between P&G(1) and Amway(2) would take a writing as long as both the Old and New Testaments and involve at least one of the Good Book’s more prominent players. Although each side would likely argue, if given the chance, that its opponent was in the garden advising the serpent when Eve took her first bite of the apple, for our purposes we need only go back to the 1970s and Satan’s rumored more recent activity with and interest in soap products."

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