Friday, April 23, 2010

Students' Privacy Not Invaded in Oral Sex Articles

Official flag of Pierce county, Washington, U.S.A.Image via Wikipedia
A Pierce County (Wash.) jury has sided with a student newspaper against four students who alleged their privacy was invaded by an article that identified them as having engaged in oral sex.

The 10-2 jury verdict came after less than a day of deliberation following a four-week trial. JagWire, the Emerald Ridge High School student newspaper, published a series of articles about oral sex among the school's students that identified the plaintiffs by name and included  comments made by them.  The plaintiffs had sought damages ranging from $500,000 to $1.5 million on their invasion of privacy claim, according to a report by

The jury found that the four students had consented to the use of their names and remarks and that the stories published by JagWire concerned an important topic that raised vital health issues.  Although privacy laws vary from state to state, consent and newsworthiness are the principal defenses generally offered by media defendants in such cases.

JagWire did not act negligently toward the four students, according to the jury verdict.  No word of an appeal, but it would appear the plaintiffs know when they're licked.

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