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Herbert v. Lando


The Herbert v. Lando decision became an important authority for plaintiffs in defamation cases to use in support of compelled disclosure of certain information which, state by state, and court by court, previously had not enjoyed standardized judicial treatment. State and federal courts remained free to modify their respective rules of civil procedure, especially those concerning discovery, if it became apparent that abuse of discovery was a real, rather than perceived, concern. In a subsequent case, Branzburg v. Hayes (1972), a divided Supreme Court concluded, by a narrow margin, that the media must disclose the identities of confidential sources of information when testifying before grand juries in criminal matters or at criminal trials. Importantly, the Court noted that states were free to enact their own laws creating a privilege to newspersons, protecting them against being compelled to disclose confidential sources (so-called "shield laws," enacted in a majority of states). The Court also preserved the right of the media to obtain relief against harassment.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Herbert v. Lando - Significance, Significant Facts, The State Of The Law In 1979, The Court's Analysis