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103 Dick. L. Rev. 59 (1998-1999)
Circumventing Sullivan: An Argument against Awarding Punitive Damages for Newsgathering Torts

handle is hein.journals/dlr103 and id is 69 raw text is: Circumventing Sullivan: An Argument
Against Awarding Punitive Damages
for Newsgathering Torts
Tracy Dreispul*
[Wjithout some protection for seeking out the news, freedom
of the press could be eviscerated.1
The United States Supreme Court has recognized that seeking
out the news warrants First Amendment protection.2 However,
the Court has never defined what First Amendment protections
apply to newsgathering or how broadly these protections extend.
In cases in which the press has sought protection for newsgathering,
the United States Supreme Court has instead rested on the
proposition that generally applicable laws do not violate the First
Amendment simply because they burden the press's ability to seek
out and gather the news.3     This conflict recently gained national
attention in the case of Food Lion, Inc. v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.4
I.   Food Lion, Inc. v. Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.
In 1992, Lynne Litt and Susan Barnett, two producers of
ABC's PrimeTime Live news program, used false identities and
falsified employment applications in order to obtain employment
at separate Food Lion grocery stores.' Litt and Barnett sought
information for a news story on reputed unsanitary practices by
* The author would like to thank Dr. Bill Chamberlin and Angela Izzo-Peppe for their
assistance with this Article.
1. Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 681 (1972).
2. Id. at 681 (We do not question the significance of free speech, press, or assembly
to the country's welfare. Nor is it suggested that newsgathering does not qualify for First
Amendment protection; without some protection for seeking out the news, freedom of the
press could be eviscerated.); see also Smith v. Daily Mail Publishing Co., 443 U.S. 97, 103
(1979) (offering protection for routine newspaper reporting techniques).
3. See, e.g., Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663 (1991); Branzburg, 408 U.S. 665.
4. 887 F. Supp. 811 (M.D.N.C. 1995).
5. See id. at 816.

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