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UCG scores win in First Amendment case.

In a First Amendment win for journalists, a federal judge has ruled that UCG does not have to disclose the identities of subscribers who responded to a confidential reader survey.

The ruling came nearly a year after UCG was subpoenaed for the information as part of a civil lawsuit. The Funeral Consumers Alliance, which filed an anti-trust lawsuit against three public funeral home companies and a casket supplier, last year subpoenaed Funeral Service Insider, a UCG newsletter. The Alliance wanted the names of funeral directors who had responded to a reader survey in 2004, arguing that the responses amounted to confessions by funeral directors to having participated in an illegal boycott of third-party casket sellers.

"This is information that nobody is going to give the press if they're not promised confidentiality," U.S. Magistrate Judge Jillyn K. Schulze said in announcing the decision. She added, "The balance weighs so heavily on reporter's privilege in this case that it's not even close."
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Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Date:Nov 30, 2006
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