Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blogs everywhere us the Crystal Cox Case as protection to report the news and speak out; check out the disclaimer on this blog

"All Rights Strictly Enforced Under Federal Law!

This blog and all other print publications by this author and the Men's Rights Group of Arizona LLC is a form of journalism and protected freedom of speech as described in case law: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, Obsidian Finance Group LLC and Kevin Padrick v. Crystal Cox 12-35238. All Rights Will Be Strictly Enforced!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Investigative Blogger Crystal Cox makes HISTORY and set's landmark precedent.


Bloggers = Media for First Amendment Libel Law Purposes

So holds today’s Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. Jan. 17, 2014) (in which I represented the defendant). To be precise, the Ninth Circuit concludes that all who speak to the public, whether or not they are members of the institutional press, are equally protected by the First Amendment. To quote the court,
The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable: “With the advent of the Internet and the decline of print and broadcast media … the line between the media and others who wish to comment on political and social issues becomes far more blurred.”Citizens United, 558 U.S. at 352. In defamation cases, the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue — not the identity of the speaker — provide the First Amendment touchstones.
I think that’s right, not just as a matter of First Amendment principle but also as a matter of history and precedent (as I documented at length in Freedom for the Press as an Industry, or for the Press as a Technology? From the Framing to Today, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 459 (2012)). The specific legal issue that the Ninth Circuit was confronting in this passage, by the way, is whether all who speak to the public are equally protected by the Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. rules, which are that"
Source and Full Article

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Crystal Cox Case is a Landmark Decision and it is a Game Changer for all New Media.

"Bloggers Gain First Amendment Victories But Still Face Issues in Online Journalism

Bloggers achieved a significant victory when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held on Jan. 17, 2014 that First Amendment protections in defamation lawsuits extend to bloggers.

In April 2014, a Florida appellate court held that bloggers were entitled to pre-suit notices for defamation suits under Florida law. Although the victories are welcome news to online content producers everywhere, the jailing of an Alabama blogger has raised questions and concerns among free speech advocates. Online speakers may still have obstacles to overcome before courts fully recognize that First Amendment protections apply to them.

Ninth Circuit Recognizes First Amendment Protections for Bloggers

On Jan. 17, 2014, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that bloggers receive the same First Amendment protections as institutional media in defamation lawsuits. Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 740 F.3d 1284 (9th Cir. 2014).

The case involved a dispute between Kevin Padrick, a principal with Obsidian Finance, a firm that advises financially troubled businesses, and Crystal Cox, a self-described investigative blogger. In 2008, Obsidian began working with Summit Accommodators, which was considering filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy court appointed Padrick as Chapter 11 trustee once Summit filed reorganization paperwork.

Shortly thereafter, Cox began posting accusations of criminal activity carried out by Padrick and Obsidian in their work with the Summit bankruptcy on several different websites, including “” After sending a cease-and-desist letter that Cox did not comply with, Padrick and Obsidian filed a defamation suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon.

The district court held that only one blog post could be interpreted as containing a statement of fact, and could proceed to trial. Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, 812 F. Supp. 2d 1220 (D. Or. 2011). The remaining blog posts were considered constitutionally protected opinions because they did not contain provable statements of fact.

Cox also claimed protection under Oregon’s journalist’s shield law, but District Judge Marco A. Hernandez held that she did not meet the definitions of who can receive protection as laid out by the state statute. (For more information on Cox’s shield law claims, see “Defamation Lawsuits Pose Threat to Journalists as Online Communication Complicates First Amendment Analysis” in the Spring 2012 issue of the Silha Bulletin).

Cox also made First Amendment arguments that the liability standards should be governed by the Supreme Court’s decision in Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc, 418 U.S. 323 (1974). In Gertz, the Supreme Court held that a private plaintiff needs to show only negligence to recover actual damages from a media defendant. But a plaintiff can only recover presumed or punitive damages upon a showing that a media defendant acted with “actual malice,” meaning that the statements were made with knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard of the truth. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. Cox argued that, under Gertz, Padrick and Obsidian carried the burden of proving her negligence in order to recover actual damages for defamation. Cox also argued that Padrick and Obsidian must show that she acted with actual malice to receive presumed damages.

 Judge Hernandez dismissed these arguments, stating that Cox had not proven that she was a journalist. Therefore, the protections of Gertz did not apply to her.

Cox also contended that Padrick and Obsidian were public figures. Under the New York Times v. Sullivan and the Gertz rulings, public figures are required to prove actual malice before they may recover any type of damages. New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964). The district court judge once again dismissed this argument, stating that Padrick and Obsidian had not made themselves public figures by becoming involved with a public controversy. Rather, Cox had created the controversy.

At the conclusion of the trial, a jury returned verdicts in favor of Padrick and Obsidian. Cox moved for a new trial, which the district court denied. Cox then appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the district court had ruled incorrectly on the liability standards and Padrick’s and Obsidian’s public figure status. Padrick and Obsidian filed a cross-appeal contending that the jury should have considered their defamation claims relating to the other blog posts.

In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit panel reversed the district court’s judgment against Cox. The court held that Gertz’s liability rules were not limited only to situations that involved traditional media defendants.

The opinion by Judge Andrew Hurwitz explained that although the Supreme Court has never ruled that the Gertz standard applied to others besides institutional media, the Court’s language in the opinion also did not limit the ruling to institutional media alone. Hurwitz wrote, “[the Supreme Court] has repeatedly refused in non-defamation contexts to accord greater First Amendment protection to the institutional media than to other speakers,” citing several cases in which the high court declined to create a distinction between members of the press and the general public.

As a result, the court agreed with other circuits that “the First Amendment defamation rules in Sullivan and its progeny apply equally to the institutional press and individual speakers.” The court also noted that trying to create a distinction between institutional media and other communicators was very difficult.

Therefore, the court said that the key First Amendment factor under Gertz in defamation cases was not the identity of the speaker. Rather, “the public-figure status of a plaintiff and the public importance of the statement at issue” are the key First Amendment considerations. Through this rationale, Cox, as a blogger, was entitled to the same liability standards that traditional forms of media received under the First Amendment.

In addition to determining that Sullivan and Gertz protections apply to the general public, the appeals court also rejected the argument that Gertz was limited to defamation cases involving matters of public concern. Hurwitz wrote that even if Gertz was limited to such a situation, Cox’s blog posts concerned public matters qualifying for protection.

However, the appellate court rejected Cox’s argument that Padrick and Obsidian became public officials because a bankruptcy court appointed them to oversee Summit’s affairs and provided compensation to them.

The court also held that Cox’s remaining blog posts were clearly opinions. The panel concluded its decision by granting Cox’s request for a new trial.

Several First Amendment advocates and advocacy organizations praised the Ninth Circuit’s ruling. UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, who represented Cox during the appeals process, told Associated Press reporter Jeff Barnard for a Jan. 17, 2014 article that the decision “makes clear that bloggers have the same First Amendment rights as professional journalists.”

Volokh also noted that the decision followed similar court rulings that granted First Amendment protections to other writers and book authors, although this ruling appeared to be the first to grant protection to bloggers. In the same article, Gregg Leslie, the legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP), said the ruling confirmed the fact that Gertz was “not a special right to the news media.” Rather, it applied to everyone. “So it’s a good thing for bloggers and citizen journalists and others,” Leslie said.

In a Jan. 24, 2014 commentary, First Amendment Center President Ken Paulson called the Ninth Circuit’s ruling a “landmark decision.” Paulson noted that given the growing financial constraints on traditional news media, many bloggers had taken on the role of the watchdog of people with power. The Ninth Circuit’s holding that bloggers deserve the same protections as traditional media was “something worth celebrating.” 

On the same day, Jim Rosenfeld, Ambika K. Doran and Jeremy A. Chase, attorneys with the firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, called the decision “a major win for individuals who blog, share, tweet, and otherwise publish their views online.” 

The attorneys explained that the panel’s language provided First Amendment protections to all speakers regardless of affiliation with institutional media.

As a result, the attorneys said, “an individual blogger, website operator or social media users speaking publicly on the Internet enjoy the same First Amendment protections from defamation claims as traditional media publishers.”

Nevertheless, some observers have noted that the case may not be a total victory. In a Jan. 17, 2014 post, Digital Media Law Project director Jeff Hermes wrote that although the court rightly decided the case, he was concerned that the court’s statements seemed to suggest that the reason Cox’s speech was protected in some blog posts was because few people could reasonably believe that content on blogs.

Hermes wrote that such assumptions about online content could devalue factual speech in the name of protecting it. “Respecting speech means evaluating it on its merits, instead of assuming that it has none,” he said."


Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Good News for Those need to have a blog to report on important issues of the times. Big Media is bought and paid for. The truth is in BLOGS, news by the people for the people.

"From Rev. Crystal Cox — a whistleblower receives protection from the 9th circuit

Posted on April 24, 2015

Reverend Crystal Cox

Crystal L. Cox, Port Townsend Washington

“On January 17, 2014, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Crystal L. Cox from Eureka, Montana who was sued by for defamation by Kevin Padrick, an attorney and his company – Obsidian Finance Group, LLC. Cox had written posts exposing fraud, corruption, money-laundering and so forth.”

“This ruling should be a clear reminder to misguided attorneys, corporations, developers or those with affluence to cease bullying or intimidating those who report the issues of the day.

Many concerned citizens have no choice but to create their own blogs and websites to level the playing field in this blossoming social media warfare.

The government has its plentiful public relations specialists, paid for by taxpayers. Corporations and special interests have their hired PR consultants. There are hired mercenaries who feel no qualms about spinning the facts. News media can be bought or controlled by big money or shut down.

It’s not uncommon for the public to read articles or watch the TV news only to lament the irregularities or inadequate reporting. Oftentimes, critical issues are shunned or ignored by corporate media because of entwined relationships.

Bloggers with information or have intimate experiences and understanding of issues are critically needed now, more than ever.”


“The Court stated,  The protections of the First Amendment do not turn on whether the defendant was a trained journalist, formally affiliated with traditional news entities, engaged in conflict-of-interest disclosure, went beyond just assembling others’ writings, or tried to get both sides of a story. As the Supreme Court has accurately warned, a First Amendment distinction between the institutional press and other speakers is unworkable.”

They went on to cite cases in which individual speakers have been granted First Amendment rights, despite not being a part of the established press. For example, the First Amendment rights of authors have often been protected,  regardless of their training, background, or affiliations .

This is very good news for anyone who has a blog or even a desire to post things in an individual capacity on their social network. 

It could also go a far way for advocacy groups that work unofficially for candidates and their rights to create media alleging things against candidates. It could also have important ramifications for blogging in other lawsuits.

For example, if a blogger is treated as a journalist for the purposes of the First Amendment, they could also be treated as a journalist in a matter like protection of sources.”


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Discussion on Citizen Journalists and the Crystal Cox Case.

"Citizen journalists and bloggers share the same rights as established journalists, according to the Ninth Circuit Court. The ruling came as a result of a defamation suit brought in Oregon against blogger Crystal Cox by the Obsidian Finance Group after she alleged they were guilty of fraud and other crimes. The court has ruled that she has the same first amendment protections as major media outlets, and the court ruled unanimously with three judges siding on Cox’ behalf. We discuss the legal guidelines for journalists being applied to citizens in this Buzzsaw news clip with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace. Watch the full episode here:…"

However NOTE that Cox did NOT have a Bad Background and in FACT is an Anti-Corruption Blogger who attorneys and Judges painted as to have had been a "bad person".

This "Blogger" did NOT have a Bad Background. The attorneys in the Case created this illusion in mass defamation, it is NOT True.

Yes the Court was used to Push an Agenda. Dig Deep into what that Agenda was?

Law School Question Regarding Obsidian v. Cox

The Question was "In what state did the reporter's privilege law applies to a blogger ( in the case Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox)?"  There answer was OREGON

However, ponder this deeply folks. You are a blogger, in say Montana. You publish a blog post while living in Colorado. A corporation that is incorporated in the State of Washington and Oregon, sues you and they claim Oregon Law as jurisdiction over you.

You are a blogger whose reach is the entire world. Obsidian v. Cox as a case precedence is used all over the world. Read a case out of New Zealand recently. So I would say that there needs to be a national and international shield law, retraction law and to bring laws regarding media, into the New Media Revolution. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Regulate Free Speech ? no way.

Landmark Case, yet bloggers still face persecution