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.

Va. court dismisses libel charges against newspaper brought by public official

Amanda Simmons | Libel | News | August 9, 2012
August 9, 2012

A Virginia trial court threw out a $3 million libel verdict against a local newspaper, finding that a local school official failed to show that the allegedly defamatory article was published with actual malice.

Miami judge dismisses former Senate candidate's libel suit against two Fla. newspapers

Chris Healy | Libel | News | April 24, 2012
April 24, 2012

A Florida judge has dismissed a former U.S. Senate candidate's libel suit against the St. Petersburg Times and The Miami Herald.

Iowa state senator wins $231,000 in defamation suit over campaign ad

Haley Behre | Libel | News | April 11, 2012
April 11, 2012

An Iowa jury awarded a state senator $231,000 in a defamation suit last week, finding that his opponent and the local Democratic Party defamed him in a TV ad that ran during the 2010 senate race.

State Sen. Rick Bertrand, a Republican, filed the suit with the Woodbury County District Court within 48 hours after the campaign ad aired claiming that Bertrand “put profit over children’s health,” according to the senator. The ad was paid for by the Iowa Democratic Party and approved by his opponent Rick Mullin, who would eventually lose the election to Bertrand.

Judge denies blogger retrial in Oregon defamation case

Rachel Bunn | Libel | News | April 3, 2012
April 3, 2012

A federal judge denied a motion for retrial in the case of a self-described investigative blogger, ruling that private figure plaintiffs do not have to establish “negligence” or “actual malice” to hold a non-media defendant liable in a defamation suit arising out of speech not on a matter of public concern.

N.J. editor did not act with actual malice in false light case

Chris Healy | Libel | Feature | March 5, 2012
March 5, 2012

A front-page teaser that wrongly stated that the subjects of a civil complaint by the Securities and Exchange Commission were "arrested" was not made with "actual malice" -- intentional falsity or reckless disregard for the truth -- the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled.

The decision means that the The Nutley Sun and its parent company, the North Jersey Media Group, are not liable to the plaintiffs in the false light case filed against them.

First Circuit rejects politician's libel claim

Chris Healy | Libel | Feature | February 29, 2012
February 29, 2012

A former candidate for the Maine State Senate could not show that negative advertisements about him by an out-of-state Republican organization, unaffiliated with his opponent, contained false statements that were made intentionally or with reckless disregard for their falsity, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston (1st Cir.) ruled earlier this month.

Indiana court reversed order to identify anonymous posters

Andrea Papagianis | Privacy | Feature | February 23, 2012
February 23, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's decision ordering The Indianapolis Star to reveal the identity of an anonymous commenter who was sued for defamation for comments made on the newspaper’s website.

In the ruling, the court said it weighed the First Amendment rights of the anonymous commenter versus the possible harm caused by the allegedly derogatory statements the commenter made on the website against the former head of a non-profit organization who filed the defamation suit.

Judge dismisses libel suit against Virginia television station

Rachel Bunn | Libel | Feature | February 14, 2012
February 14, 2012

A federal judge dismissed a $5 million libel lawsuit by a former tax preparer against a Virginia television station that allegedly referred to him as “unscrupulous.”

Georgia's highest court won't review Jewell libel case

Andrea Papagianis | Libel | Feature | January 11, 2012
January 11, 2012

Earlier this week the Georgia Supreme Court declined to review a lower court decision in the long-running libel case against The Atlanta Journal-Constitution filed by Richard Jewell, who was wrongfully accused of the 1996 Olympic Park bombing, and carried on by his family since his death in 2007.

Dominican sugar executives are public figures, court rules

Chris Healy | Libel | Feature | December 13, 2011
December 13, 2011

Two sugar-cane plantation owners from the Dominican Republic must satisfy a higher standard reserved for public figures if they are to prevail in a libel suit against American filmmakers who made a documentary critical of the Caribbean nation's sugar industry, a federal court of appeals has ruled.