Webinar instructions will be emailed before the date of the webinar.

Please log into the webinar 15 – 30 minutes before the start time.

Monday, February 12, 2024
9:00 am – 4:00 pm CST


Current Status of Global Libel Law
Presented by: J. Kirtley

  • Origins of defamation as a cause of action
  • Common Law Libel
  • Anti-SLAPP legislation
  • Defamation and libel laws around the U.S.
  • Recent decisions and current cases

United States Federal and Wisconsin State Defamation, Libel and Slander Laws
Presented by: R. Gold

  • Defining defamation
  • Defining libel and slander
  • New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
  • Wisconsin defamation and libel law
  • Maintaining and defending a libel action
  • Maintaining and defending a slander action

United States Federal and Wisconsin State Press Protections
Presented by: B. Spahn

  • First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • State protections
  • Protections for journalists and other employees
  • Proposed legislation and recent litigation

Current Libel Case Studies
Presented by: V. John Ella

  • US Dominion, Inc. v. Fox News Network LLC
  • Other cases arising out of 2020 election
  • E Jean Carroll v. Donald J. Trump
  • Marion County Record case (Kansas)
  • Wausau Pilot & Review case (Wisconsin)
  • Johnson v Freborg (Minnesota)

Best Practices Libel and Media Law: A Panel Discussion
Presented by: V. John Ella, R. Gold & B. Spahn

  • Best practices for limiting damage caused by alleged libel
  • Best practices for reporters and publishers
  • Best practices for protecting against libel actions
  • Best practices for defending libel cases


Webinar Instructions

All attendees must log-on through their own email – attendees may not watch together if they wish to earn continuing education credit. HalfMoon Education Inc. must be able to prove attendance if either the attendee or HalfMoon Education Inc. is audited.

Certificates of completion can be downloaded in PDF form upon passing a short quiz. A link to the quiz will be sent to each qualifying attendee immediately after the webinar. The certificate can be downloaded from the Results page of the quiz upon scoring 80% or higher.

Webinars are presented via GoToWebinar, an easy-to-use application that can be run on most systems and tablets. Instructions and login information will be provided in an email sent close to the date of the webinar. It is highly recommended that you download, install and test the application before the webinar begins by clicking on the link in the email.

GoToWebinar App requirements:
Windows 7 – 10 or Mac OSX Mavericks (10.9) – macOS Catalina (10.15)

Web Browser:
The two most recent version of the following browsers:
Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Edge
Internet Explorer v11 (or later) with Flash enabled.

Internet connection: Minimum of 1Mbps       Hardware: 2GB RAM or more

For more information, visit the Support section at


7.0 CLE Hours


Continuing Education Credit Information

This webinar is open to the public and has been approved for 7.0 CLE hours by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin’s Board of Bar Examiners.

Attendance will be monitored, and attendance certificates will be available after the webinar for those who attend the entire course and score a minimum 80% on the quiz that follows the course (multiple attempts allowed).

On-Demand Credits

The preceding credit information only applies to the live presentation. This course in an on-demand format is not approved for continuing education credits and is meant for educational purposes only.


V. John Ella

Mr. Ella is a shareholder at Fafinksi, Mark & Johnson in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He has represented individuals, private businesses, non-profits, associations, charter schools, universities, and counties in dozens of defamation lawsuits in state and federal district court and on appeal. He has presented numerous continuing education seminars on the topic of defamation and is the author of several articles on the topic of defamation for legal publications. He also specializes in all aspects of employment law, business law, and commercial litigation, with an emphasis on defamation, employment defense, and insurance defense. Mr. Ella is certified by the Minnesota State Bar Association as a Labor and Employment Law Specialist. He is also certified as an Information Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). He served as a public member of the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice from 2010 to 2018 and as a member and chair of the Minnesota State Board of Legal Certification. He attended high school in Wisconsin, obtained his B.A. degree from Tufts University and graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Law in 1994. He is admitted to practice in Minnesota, Iowa and the Western and Eastern Districts of Wisconsin.

Randall B. Gold

Mr. Gold is an attorney with Fox & Fox S.C. Mr. Gold handles legal matters and litigation (including trial work) involving employment discrimination, commercial litigation, retaliation, job harassment, civil rights, whistle-blowing, unlawful discharge, False Claims Act/Qui Tam, securities/investment claims, fraud, contract and defamation claims – primarily in Wisconsin and the Chicago metropolitan/Northern Illinois area, and elsewhere too. He is a member of the American, Chicago and Wisconsin State Bar Associations. Mr. Gold earned his B.A. degree, cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his J.D. degree from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law.

Jane E. Kirtley

Ms. Kirtley is the Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law and director of the Silha Center at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota. She is also an affiliated faculty member at the University of Minnesota Law School. She was a Fulbright Scholar teaching U.S. media law and ethics at the University of Latvia in Riga in 2016, and was Executive Director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, DC for 14 years. A member of the New York, District of Columbia, and Virginia bars, her J.D. degree is from Vanderbilt University Law School.

Brian C. Spahn

Mr. Spahn is a shareholder with Godfrey Kahn. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation, corporate compliance and internal investigations. He helps businesses and organizations resolve disputes, often leading investigations that are necessary to gather facts and address issues before efficiently reaching a resolution. Mr. Spahn has assisted clients through both complex litigation as well as government enforcement actions. His experience is not limited to one subject area or issue. He has handled banking and financial services litigation, antitrust, insurance, employment and trade secret misappropriation matters. His work includes successfully defending against a multimillion dollar trade secret misappropriation case, a breach of contract claim brought against members of a failed investment vehicle, fraudulent transfer claims related to loans allegedly involved in a Ponzi scheme, and a wrongful termination Title VII case. Additionally, a significant part of Mr. Spahn’s practice focuses on government investigations and corporate compliance issues. He routinely advises clients with respect to compliance policies including anti-bribery and corruption policies, supplier codes of conduct, and protocols for addressing and responding to government subpoenas and civil investigative demands. Mr. Spahn has been involved in numerous internal investigations working for municipalities, nonprofit organizations and corporate boards of directors and audit committees on issues ranging from employment matters to securities and corporate governance issues. In representing corporate clients, he has worked with federal and state law enforcement when appropriate on fraud and trade secret misappropriation cases. Before joining the firm in 2011, Mr. Spahn practiced law for more than three years in Washington, D.C. He is licensed in Wisconsin, Illinois and Washington, D.C. He also has a significant background working in Wisconsin government and politics. Prior to law school, Mr. Spahn worked for U.S. Senator Herb Kohl where he oversaw federal appropriation and grant requests, handled constituent services and managed Senator Kohl’s district schedule. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and his J.D. degree, cum laude, from the University of Wisconsin Law School.