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BAUGH v. CBS
June 21, 1993
YOLANDA BAUGH and DONYELLE BAUGH, Plaintiff (s),
CBS, INC., GROUP W TELEVISION, KPIX, and DAN MOGULOFF, Defendant (s).
The opinion of the court was delivered by: FERN M. SMITH
Plaintiffs Yolanda Baugh ("Baugh") and her daughter, Donyelle Baugh, have filed suit alleging various torts arising from an episode of "STREET STORIES," a weekly news magazine produced and broadcast by Defendant Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. ("CBS"). Plaintiffs have also named Group W Television, Inc., the owner of CBS' San Francisco affiliate KPIX-TV ("Group W"), and Dan Moguloff ("Moguloff"), field producer for STREET STORIES as Defendants. All Defendants move to dismiss the claims or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. In addition, Defendant Group W moves for dismissal or summary judgment on the basis that it is merely a conduit of the network broadcast. Plaintiffs move for summary judgment on their trespass and unfair competition claim. Finally, Plaintiffs move for relief from the automatic referral to arbitration under Local Rule 500. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DISMISSES the claims for appropriation of likeness, intrusion on seclusion, trespass, unfair competition, and negligent infliction of emotional distress, but DENIES Defendants' motions with respect to the disclosure of private facts, fraud, and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.
CBS describes STREET STORIES as a "weekly news and public affairs magazine." The segment at issue was entitled "Stand by Me" and was broadcast over the CBS Network on April 9, 1992 ("the Broadcast").
The Broadcast concerned the Mobile Crisis Intervention Team, run by the Alameda County District Attorney, which is designed to provide emergency assistance for crime victims. The Broadcast focused on the work of Elaine Lopes ("Lopes") who assists victims with emotional support, guidance through the judicial process, and other relevant services. CBS news correspondent Bob McKeown ("McKeown") followed Lopes and filmed several of her visits with crime victims, showing how Lopes provided needed guidance for these victims. McKeown's report also described how Lopes aided in successful prosecution of crimes because she often provided victims with the emotional support they need to testify effectively. In addition, McKeown noted that the victims assistance program is funded entirely by fines levied against criminals and that the recession had made these fines more difficult to collect.
Later in the Broadcast, the voice of a police dispatcher is heard stating, "husband beat up wife. Broke windows in the house. And she's waiting there." Broadcast Transcript ("Tr.") at 11 (Declaration of Madeleine Schachter, Exh. 1). The Broadcast then showed footage of Lopes and others inside the victim's home:
Minutes after the police arrive, Elaine Lopes and her team are on the scene. They're professional victims' advocates, trained to pick up the pieces of lives touched--sometimes shattered--by crime.
Unidentified Woman #1:
He started beating on me and kicking on me and hitting me in the face. And then he kept bullying at me, talking about, 'You ain't going to do nothing.' You know, just bullying me like, you know, he knew I was scared of him.
This time it's a report of domestic violence.
I think you feel like you're -- like right here on trial and you're not. OK?
(Footage of Lopes in car with McKeown)
We are helping them right from the beginning. You help them put the control back-- you begin to put the control back because you're there at the beginning, a -- you know, right after the crime has occurred.
(Footage of Lopes and others in victim's home)
Elaine's encouragement makes it easier for the victim to make her case.
(Footage of woman#1 and police officer in kitchen)
Unidentified Police Officer #1:
What do you mean, hit you? Did he punch you?
(Demonstrates attacker's stance) He was like this over me, doing like this. And he kicked me on the floor!
OK. That's what I was asking you . . .
(Close-up of pamphlet: Victim and Witness Assistance, then footage of Lopes with woman #1)
I'm Elaine. I'm the one that'll follow through today. And if I don't, you know, end up working with you through the court process-- if it goes through the court process-- I will assign one of my staff. But more than likely, it'll be me.
Once you've been victimized, your life will never be the same.
(Footage of Lopes and others leaving woman ...
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