A prime time news magazine came to Texas to learn about a women’s clinic that had developed a unique approach to counseling women before they decided to have an abortion. Our client agreed to the interview, but only if the show agreed to conceal her identity. The anchor promised he would.
Though the show referred to her by a fictitious name, “Janet,” they showed enough of her face, body, and personal effects so that she was recognized by everyone watching who knew her. The anchor and news show had broken their promise and invaded her privacy. When pre-suit settlement discussions broke down, she had little recourse but to file suit.
But, a suit like this would undoubtedly be picked up by the media. And, our client’s name would be conclusively linked to the story. How could we file suit when the rules require that the plaintiff be identified without causing our client further damage?
We sued under the fictitious name the news anchor gave her, “Janet.” If the news magazine show wanted to claim that the petition did not fairly identify her, it could specially except and risk inflicting more harm. It didn’t. As expected, the local news reported on the filing of the case. And, the dispute was resolved.