Writer Enjoined from Publishing Stories Based on Contractually Confidential Material Learned While Working as a Law Student Intern
Professor Eugene Volokh recently covered a case out of Louisiana where a federal judge denied an anti-SLAPP motion and ruled that a death penalty defense organization may proceed with its lawsuit seeking to prevent a former intern from publishing a book about a client.
“Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich served as an unpaid summer law clerk at the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center (“LCAC”) while she was a law student at Harvard University in 2003. LCAC is a nonprofit organization providing legal representation to indigent capital defendants. As a summer law clerk, she investigated the facts of assigned cases, conducted case analysis, drafted memoranda, managed client correspondence, and attended meetings where attorneys discussed case strategies for specific clients.
After graduating from law school, Ms. Marzano-Lesnevich pursued a career as a journalist and writer in lieu of a legal career. Nonetheless, her legal training has informed her writing, as she has published several essays relating to her experiences and dealing with the death penalty and sex crimes. Among her published works is an essay titled In the Fade, which was published in the Spring 2010 issue of a journal called The Bellingham Review, and an essay entitled Longtermer’s Day, which was published in a nonfiction periodical entitled Fourth Genre in 2010. Ms. Marzano-Lesnevich also published copies of these works, along with several other fictional works, on her personal website. In the Fade is a creative nonfictional description of the criminal prosecution of an LCAC client named Ricky Langley for the sexual assault and murder of a six-year old boy in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Longtermer’s Day is a stylistically similar account of the author’s experience visiting Angola Prison and conversing with prisoners. It is these works, along with a forthcoming but yet uncompleted novel, which are at issue in this suit.”