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Dietemann vs. Time Inc.

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Sarah Bick

on 29 March 2011

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Transcript of Dietemann vs. Time Inc.

Dietemann vs. Time Inc., 1971 Plaintiff: A. A. Dietemann Defendant: Time, Inc. Dietemann, a disabled veteran and former plumber, was practicing “simple quackery” in his home by healing with clay, minerals, and herbs. ≠ The defendant, Time Inc., is the publisher of LIFE magazine.

The District Attorney of Los Angeles as well as the Department of Public Health entered into an agreement with Time Inc. in which two employees of of LIFE magazine were to go to the plaintiff's home and gather information and evidence on the practices of Dietemann. The officals would later use this information against Dietemann in a criminal prosecution. In return, LIFE magazine could use any knowledge they accumulated in an aritle entitled "Crackdown on Quackery." At The Quack's House... The two reporters arrived at Dietemann's home and rang the bell by his gate. Mrs. Jackie Metcalf and Mr. William Rey told the plaintiff that he was recommended to them by a friend, Mr. Johnson. Dietemann welcomed them inside and brought them into his den (aka his home office =/). In The Den... Metcalf told Dietemann that she had a lump in her breast. Upon his examination (with magic wand in hand... no kidding), he concluded that the reason for her lump was due to her cunsumption of “some rancid butter 11 years, 9 months, and 7 days prior to that time.” While in the den, Metcalf's investigative partner secretively snapped photos of Dietemann with his hand (the one without the wand) on the upper portion of Metcalf's chest. So Guess What Happened! On October 15, 1963 Dietemann was arrested at his home on a charge of practicing medicine without a license! The November 1 issue of LIFE contained the story on the plaintiff. He then sued Time, Inc. for $300,000 and won a measly 1k. Time Inc. decided to appeal. The Appeal The court held that Dietemann's privacy was violated when the LIFE magazine employees enetered the plaintiff's home through a deceptive act and photographed/recorded him without his consent. The First Amendement rights of the reporters do not support these acts against Dietemann even though they did so to gain information for an article. The judgement was affirmend and the court again sided with Dietemann. In The Opinion by Hufstedler, it is stated that “The First Amendment has never been construed to accord newsmen immunity from torts or crimes committed during the course of newsgathering. The First Amendment is not a license to trespass, to steal, or to intrude by electronic means into the precincts of another’s home or office…. Indeed, the Court strongly indicates that there is no First Amendment interest in protecting news media from calculated misdeeds.” Tracy
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