CNN is reporting new details on a federal appeals court siding with Hustler magazine against Nancy Benoit's family in a lawsuit filed by the family over nude photos that the magazine published. The site reports that the three-judge appeals panel decided that the magazine operated "under an innocent mistake" by publishing the photos of Nancy following her death at the hands of Chris Benoit. The judges stated that a defendant, such as Hustler, who operates under such a mistake "cannot be held liable for punitive damages."
The panel also said, "Because there was overwhelming evidence that LFP (publishers of Hustler) reasonably and honestly (albeit mistakenly) believed that the photographs were subject to the newsworthiness exception to the right of publicity, we conclude that no reasonable jury could find by clear and convincing evidence that punitive damages were warranted in this case."
Benoit's estate has the option of trying to elevate it to the US Supreme Court, as the case could decide "larger constitutional questions" on publishing "newsworthy" information vs. invasion of privacy.