Broker's Choice of America, et al v. NBC Universal, Inc., et al, No. 11-1042 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Tyrone Clark and his company, Brokers' Choice of America, sued NBC Universal, Inc. and some of its employees after it aired a "Dateline" segment titled "Tricks of the Trade." The aired segment featured snippets of Clark taken from one of his two-day seminars for insurance brokers on BCA’s property in Colorado. The crew surreptitiously filmed the seminar. Using select words from the two-day seminar, the aired program depicted Clark as one who teaches insurance agents how to employ misrepresentations and other questionable tactics in order to dupe senior citizens into purchasing inappropriate annuity products. BCA's complaint alleged several state-law claims: defamation, trespass, fraud, and intrusion. It also alleged three violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983, a Fourth Amendment illegal search and seizure violation and two Fourteenth Amendment violations, invasion of privacy and stigmatization. Dateline moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. Applying the Colorado Shield Law, specifically the Colorado's newsperson's privilege, the magistrate judge stayed discovery. The district court later granted the motion to dismiss with leave to file an amended complaint. BCA's amended complaint raised only the defamation claim and the 1983 claims, both of which were ultimately dismissed too. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the case for further proceedings: the Court affirmed the dismissal of BCA's Fourth Amendment and 1983 privacy and stigmatization claims. The Court reversed the dismissal of the defamation claim.