Class Make up Case Brie1

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Topics: Appeal, Law
Case Brief
Citation: New World Communications of Tampa, Inc., d/b/a WTVT-TV v. Jane Akre February 14, 2003. Denied February 25, 2004. 866 So. 2d 1231 District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District.

Facts: In 1998, the investigative reporting husband and wife team, Jane Akre and Steve Wilson, filed suit against their employer New World Communications of Tampa, Inc. (WVTV), a subsidiary of Fox TV, stating they violated the Florida’s whistleblower statues. They argued that WVTV terminated their employment under the grounds of retaliation after they refused to suppress and distort the contents of a story regarding the controversial Bovine Growth Hormone in Florida’s cattle. They also brought forth additional claims of declaratory relief and breach of contract. After a four week jury trial they found against Wilson and all of his claims. Akre dropped allegations concerning declaratory relief and the court allowed the whistle-blower claims to be moved forward. Akre won a monetary award from the jury of $425,000 based on the retaliation charges established by the whistle-blower statue.
In 2004, WTVT appealed the whistle-blower judgment. The final verdict was reversed after the Florida Court of Appeals concluded that Akre failed to make a claim under the whistle-blower statute. The FCC policy did not state cause of action under the private sector whistle-blower’s statue. WTVT asked for appellate attorney’s fees and was refused.
Issues: Did Ms. Akre’s claims meet the whistle-blower statue? Was the “news distortion policy” adopted as rule by the FCC? Should a plaintiff be awarded attorney’s fees from the defendant in an appeals case?
Rule of Law: The Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 is a United States federal law that protects federal whistleblowers who work for the government and report agency misconduct. (www.wikipedia.org/whistleblower.com). The Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Act calls for whistleblowing in the context of publicly traded

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