• Opportunity: We represented a leading national magazine and an internationally recognized photojournalist who had photographed the open casket of an Oklahoma National Guard member killed in Iraq – the first such death since the Korean War. The funeral service was held in a high school auditorium to accommodate the crowd, and the family invited political leaders and the media to the event – but later sued our clients for violation of privacy.
  • Solution: Our defense of the magazine’s First Amendment rights emphasized that the funeral was a public event held at a public location. In addition, which political figures (including the Governor of Oklahoma) and the news media were invited, and the open casket was on display for all who attended to honor the fallen soldier. We argued that these considerations opened the funeral proceeding to the public eye, and that any photographs taken did not violate privacy rights. 
  • Result: The Oklahoma federal district court that heard the case granted our clients summary judgment on all claims, a ruling affirmed by both the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.