Actual malice

The legal standard of proof required for a public figure or official who brings a libel suit, requiring that the one being sued acted with "knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth." This is a much higher standard of proof than mere negligence.

10th Circuit reverses dismissal of 'Dateline' defamation case

Bradleigh Chance | Libel | News | July 14, 2014
July 14, 2014

Last week the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that while NBCUniversal reporters did not violate anyone’s Fourth Amendment rights creating the 2008 Dateline segment titled “Tricks of the Trade,” a lower court will have to review the originally dismissed defamation claims made by an insurance broker featured in the piece.

Tyrone M. Clark and his company, Brokers’ Choice of America, initially sued NBC over video clips recorded with a hidden camera by Dateline crew members during an insurance brokers’ seminar in Colorado located on BCA property.

The reporters worked with Alabama law enforcement to gain access to the event since it was only open to licensed insurance agents, which Clark and BCA claimed to be a Fourth Amendment violation of the company’s right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Defamation verdict in Air Wisconsin case vacated by Supreme Court

Michael Rooney | Libel | News | January 27, 2014
January 27, 2014

The Supreme Court ruled today in Air Wisconsin v. Hoeper that airlines cannot be held liable for reporting safety threats to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) if the report was essentially true, even if some details were false. The Court held that airlines would not be stripped of the statutory immunity from civil suits under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) for reporting such safety threats.

Ninth Circuit: Bloggers, public have same defamation protections as 'institutional press' on matters of public concern

Cindy Gierhart | Libel | News | January 17, 2014
January 17, 2014

The Ninth Circuit ruled today in Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox that bloggers -- and other members of the public -- are governed by the same decades-old defamation jurisprudence as the "institutional press” when speaking about matters of public concern.

Crystal Cox wrote blog posts alleging a bankruptcy trustee and his company committed fraud, corruption, and money-laundering. The trustee, Kevin Padrick, and company, Obsidian Finance Group, sued for defamation.

One question before the court was whether the New York Times v. Sullivan and Gertz v. Robert Welch line of cases applied to Cox, as a blogger, or whether the rules set forth under those cases only applied to the “institutional press.”

Virginia Supreme Court rules for newspaper in libel case

Michael Rooney | Libel | News | January 14, 2014
January 14, 2014

The Virginia Supreme Court has upheld a decision throwing out a libel verdict against The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk.

The justices unanimously ruled that the paper did not libel Phillip Webb after it reported that Webb’s son was not disciplined by the school system stemming from a physical altercation. Webb was an assistant principal at a different high school in the same school system.

At trial, Webb asserted that the 2009 story suggested that the son received special treatment due to Webb's role as an assistant principal in that school system. For this, a jury awarded Webb $3 million in damages.

Supreme Court to hear Air Wisconsin defamation caseon immunity in reporting security threats

Amy Zhang | Libel | News | June 18, 2013
June 18, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a case involving an Air Wisconsin pilot who sued for defamation, which raises the issue of the extent of the airline's immunity from lawsuits when they report potential security threats.

The justices will decide if the Colorado Supreme Court was correct in upholding a $1.4 million damages award to pilot William Hoeper and denying Air Wisconsin Airlines legal immunity after it reported to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that Hoeper could be a security threat. Hoeper was questioned by the TSA but never charged.

Newspaper's statements about school principal are opinion and not defamatory, N.Y. judge rules

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | May 1, 2013
May 1, 2013

Articles published by the New York Daily News calling a former school principal a “firebrand” and a “principal of hate” are not defamatory because the statements are opinions, a New York Supreme Court judge ruled last week. The Supreme Court is the trial-level court in New York.

Order prohibiting journalist from ever writing about Haitian prime minister dismissed; but PM can refile complaint

Nicole Lozare | Prior Restraints | News | April 9, 2013
April 9, 2013

A federal judge in Miami today dismissed the defamation suit against a U.S.-based Haitian journalist and retracted a previous court order prohibiting him from ever publishing anything about the Haitian prime minister and a Florida businessman.

New York court dismisses libel suit against the New York Daily News

Monika Fidler | Libel | News | December 7, 2012
December 7, 2012

A New York judge this week dismissed a libel lawsuit by a Brooklyn judge against the New York Daily News and one of its former columnists.

Minnesota appeals court overturns jury award against blogger

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | August 21, 2012
August 21, 2012

John Hoff did not lie. Because of that, the Minneapolis blogger will not be held liable for the firing of a University of Minnesota employee.

A three-member panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday overturned a $60,000 award against Hoff, a blogger who publishes “The Adventures of Johnny Northside.”

Calif. appellate court affirms dismissal of libel suit against Gawker under state's anti-SLAPP law

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | August 15, 2012
August 15, 2012

A California appellate court upheld the dismissal of a libel suit brought by the head of a small startup tech company against the Internet blogging company Gawker Media.