The Circuit Court for the City of Richmond, Virginia, recently quashed plaintiff Marathon Resource Group, LLC’s subpoena to a journalist regarding a voicemail she received during the course of an investigation into Marathon’s business practices. See Marathon Resource Group Management, LLC v. Fresh Cuts Lawncare, Inc. et al., Richmond City Circuit Court, Case No. CL 19-5973 (the Order)
In the underlying litigation, Marathon had sued Fresh Cuts Lawncare, Inc. and its owners (collectively “Fresh Cuts”) regarding, among other things, statements made by Fresh Cuts in news reports and via a Facebook page that Marathon had engaged in unfair business practices and failed to pay invoices. Marathon claimed that the purported defamatory statements were harming its business and subpoenaed journalist Kerri O’Brien, of the Richmond affiliate of ABC News, who had obtained statements from Fresh Cuts and others in the course of her investigative report about Marathon’s business practices. Marathon’s subpoena specifically sought to obtain a voicemail recording from O’Brien, which Marathon claimed would substantiate the publication element of its defamation claim against Fresh Cuts. See Order at 2.
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