15
Mar/05

Hypotheticals


Hypo 1.  Acme Lock-Up, a private for-profit security and incarceration provider to municipalities, releases an advertisement that states “Fewer prisoners are killed or seriously injured in our facilities, than in those of our competitors.”  This statement is false and Acme knew it was false when making it (the “False Claim”).

Hypo 2.  Same facts as Hypo 1 except the False Claim is made by an Acme officer to a reporter from LazyEyewitnessNews TV (“LENS TV”).  The reporter is too lazy to corroborate it and LENS TV  runs the footage of the officer making the False Claim without commenting on it.

Hypo 3 Same facts as Hypo 2 except LENS TV knows of the falsity of the claim.

Hypo 4.  Same facts as Hypo 3 except the reporter makes the False Claim him or herself on air as an unattributed statement of fact.

Hypo 5.  Acme prepares a news report on private incarceration services for the purpose of affecting public opinion on the topic.  The report includes the False Claim.  Acme creates an entity styled as an independent news service to distribute the ‘report.’  LENS TV receives the report from the news service and runs it as news.

Hypo 6.  Hypos 1 through 5, except instead of a private actor, it’s the U.S. Government.

Discuss possible causes of action under the Lanham Act and state statutes against Acme/USG and/or Lens, and who may have standing to bring them.

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