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Marena v. Auler

In Progress Contracts Expression

Key Details

  • Mode of Expression
    Electronic / Internet-based Communication, Press / Newspapers
  • Date of Decision
    March 30, 2016
  • Outcome
    Injunction or Order Granted
  • Case Number
    0012169-78.2016.8.16.0182
  • Region & Country
    Brazil, Latin-America and Caribbean
  • Judicial Body
    First Instance Court
  • Type of Law
    Civil Law
  • Themes
    Content Regulation / Censorship, Defamation / Reputation, Protection of Sources
  • Tags
    On-line Expression, Protection of sources, Defamation, Honor and Reputation, Internet

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Case Analysis

Case Summary and Outcome

The Curitiba Civil Court granted an injunction requiring a journalist, Marcelo Auler, to take down a blog in which he accused a Federal Marshall of leaking information regarding “Operação Lava-Jato,” a police investigation into a corruption scandal in Brazil.

 


Facts

On March 17, 2016, journalist Marcelo Auler published a blog entitled, “New Minister of Justice Fought Against Phone Call Leaks and was Victimized”. The blog accused a Federal Marshall of being responsible for leaks during the early stages of the police investigation “Operação Lava-Jato” (a high profile investigation into corruption and money-laundering). The leaked information was later published by the media.

Auler claimed that the Marshall had taken similar measures in previous investigations and noted that her actions were, in part, motivated by a desire to limit the government’s ability to politically influence ongoing investigations.

The Marshall filed a lawsuit requesting indemnity and the blog’s immediate removal, arguing that the accusations cast doubt on her reputation and questioned her professional integrity.


Decision Overview

On March 30, 2016, Judge Barros Guimarães granted a provisional injunction pending Auler’s defense. The judge considered that Auler’s allegations, without any proof to substantiate them, caused harm to the Marshall’s professional reputation. The judge held that because it concerned a provisional injunction granted with the objective of preventing harm, no actual damage to reputation needed to be proven. The judge ordered Auler to take down the blog within twenty-four hours on pain of a daily fine of 400 Brazilian reals up to a maximum of twenty days.


Decision Direction

Quick Info

Decision Direction indicates whether the decision expands or contracts expression based on an analysis of the case.

Contracts Expression

The injunction deprives the public of information on an issue of public interest, and the Court has not heard Auler’s evidence. The decision may also impact on Auler’s right to protect confidential sources of information. In addition, it is important to note that Auler is at a disadvantage defending the matter since the case has been brought in the town where the plaintiff resides, 842 kilometers away from Rio.  Neither aspect was addressed by the judge.

Although not binding, this decision is part of a developing pattern of cases where similar injunctions have been granted (see e.g. Braz., Civil Court of Curitiba, Grillo v. Auler, 0016778-07.2016.8.16.0182 (2016)), setting a worrying precedent. There is great controversy surrounding the leaked information during “Operação Lava-Jato” and the corruption scandal, in itself, is highly politicized.

Global Perspective

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Global Perspective demonstrates how the court’s decision was influenced by standards from one or many regions.

Table of Authorities

National standards, law or jurisprudence

  • Braz., Civil Procedure Code art 300 (2015)

Case Significance

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Case significance refers to how influential the case is and how its significance changes over time.

The decision establishes a binding or persuasive precedent within its jurisdiction.

Although not binding, this decision is part of a developing pattern of cases where similar injunctions have been granted (see e.g. Braz., Civil Court of Curitiba, Grillo v. Auler, 0016778-07.2016.8.16.0182 (2016)), setting a worrying precedent. There is great controversy surrounding the leaked information during “Operação Lava-Jato” and the corruption scandal, in itself, is highly politicized.

Official Case Documents

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