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Appeal from the United States District Court For the Northern District of Texas

Plaintiffs-Appellants Mitzi Green and Jessica Green (collectively, the “Greens”) appeal the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Defendants-Appellees CBS Broadcasting Inc., 48 Hours, Dan Rather, Chuck Stevenson, Bill Lagattuta, and Susan Zirinsky (collectively, “CBS”). On appeal, we must decide whether the district court correctly determined that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to the Greens’ defamation or invasion of privacy claims.

CBS published and aired a story entitled “Lotto Town” in January 1998 on its weekly news magazine, 48 Hours, detailing the lives of forty-two lotto millionaires living in the small town of Roby, Texas. One of these lotto winners was Lance Green, Mitzi Green’s ex-husband. In the course of its one-hour broadcast, CBS showed how Lance’s life changed during the year following his lotto win. The story included, among other events, Lance’s divorce from Mitzi Green, his relationship with her daughter Jessica, and Mitzi Green’s charge that Lance had sexually abused Jessica. During the broadcast, Lance, the CBS correspondent Lagattuta, and other Roby residents made several statements referencing Mitzi. These include Lagattuta’s statement that Mitzi “wanted more money” from Lance after he won the lotto, and allegations by Lance that she used her daughter to get more money from him. At one point during the hour-long show, Lance and his lawyer expressed their opinion that Mitzi fabricated the sexual assault charges against Lance, and a Roby resident expressed his belief that Lance was innocent. The broadcast also showed Lance pointing out several pictures of Jessica taped to his refrigerator, while referring to her as his “daughter.”

 
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