Glenn R. Funk v. Scripps Media, Inc., Et Al.

Glenn R. Funk v. Scripps Media, Inc., Et Al.
M2017-00256-SC-R11-CV

We granted review of this interlocutory appeal arising from a defamation action to address whether the Court of Appeals correctly determined that (1) a showing of malice cannot defeat the fair report privilege and (2) an assertion of the fair report privilege exempts the defendants from part of the protections of Tennessee Code Annotated section 24-1-208, Tennessee’s news media shield law. With respect to the first issue, we conclude that neither actual nor express malice defeats the privilege; the only limitations on the fair report privilege are that a report of an official action or proceeding must be fair and accurate. With respect to the second issue, we conclude that the fair report privilege is a defense based upon a source of information that renders the source of the statements the plaintiff alleges to be defamatory unprotected by Tennessee’s shield law. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals on the separate grounds stated in this opinion and remand this case to the trial court. 

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Cornelia A. Clark
Originating Judge: 
Senior Judge William B. Acree
Date Filed: 
Wednesday, March 13, 2019