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Desmond v. News & Observer (North Carolina Supreme Court)

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  1. Libel and Privacy

The Reporters Committee and 12 media organizations filed an amici brief in support of The News & Observer’s petition for review by the Supreme Court of North Carolina of a $6 million libel jury verdict, which was affirmed by the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  The brief argues that the Court of Appeals misapplied the actual malice standard and urges the Supreme Court to accept review because of the potential effect of the Court of Appeals’ decision on both future North Carolina jurisprudence and the public interest.  Specifically, the brief argues that the plaintiff did not present clear and convincing evidence of actual malice, and the appellate court erred in failing to conduct an independent review of the evidence, as required by the First Amendment.