Libel is a defamatory communication that is written or broadcast.

California amendment extends libel provisions to online publications

Jennevieve Fong | Libel | News | October 30, 2015
October 30, 2015

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law an act extending libel retraction and damages provisions to print and online publications.

Assembly Bill 998 replaces the term “newspaper” with “daily or weekly news publication.” This alteration extends libel protections to online daily or weekly publications which were not protected under the original legislation.

Section 1 of AB 998 states “it is the intent of the Legislature to ensure that weekly and online publications are afforded the same protection under Section 48a of the Civil Code as is afforded to a daily newspaper to the extent that the weekly and online publications perform the same news-disseminating function as a daily newspaper.”

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.

Sixth Circuit: not liable for user's posts, even when commentary added

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

Nik Richie, operator of the website, cannot be held liable for potentially defamatory remarks made by a third-party poster on his website, according to a Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling released Monday.

The court reversed a district court ruling that held Richie could be liable because he “encouraged” defamatory statements and then “adopted” the statements by adding his own comments to the posts.

The court describes as “a user-generated, online tabloid” where users can post gossip about anyone, often private individuals.

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.

Alabama blogger jailed after violating prior restraint over articles that alleged high-profile affair

Jamie Schuman | Prior Restraints | News | October 25, 2013
October 25, 2013

Alabama blogger Roger Shuler was arrested Wednesday after allegedly violating a judge’s order that he not publish stories about a supposed affair involving the son of a former state governor, according to a news report and his wife Carol Shuler.

Police charged the blogger with contempt of court and resisting arrest, Carol Shuler said in an interview Friday. Roger Shuler has run “Legal Schnauzer,” a blog focused on exposing political corruption, since 2007. He is being held on a $1,000 bond on the resisting arrest charge, but bond was not set for the two contempt charges, his wife said. She also alleged that he was physically roughed up by police during his arrest.

Appeals court upholds dismissal of defamation suit against Spitzer, Slate

Cindy Gierhart | Libel | News | September 20, 2013
September 20, 2013

In upholding the dismissal of a defamation claim against Eliot Spitzer and Slate on Wednesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York City (2nd Cir.) ruled that a broad reference to an organization or “[a company] and its employees” does not give an individual in that company a right to sue for defamation.

Texas state appeals court dismisses defamation suit against television news station

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | July 15, 2013
July 15, 2013

A Texas state appeals court has concluded that a trial court wrongly denied a local television news station’s attempt to dismiss under the state’s anti-SLAPP law a defamation suit filed against it by a former charter school operator.

Court rules that scientific articles are protected from defamation suits

Amy Zhang | Libel | News | June 28, 2013
June 28, 2013

A federal appeals court panel in New York ruled this week that scientific articles are considered "protected opinion" in a defamation suit between two rival drug companies.

Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch, who wrote the 18-page opinion for a three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York (2nd Cir.), concluded that a scientific article published in the Journal of Perinatology comparing the effectiveness of similar drugs was protected under the First Amendment.

N.Y. judge dismisses portion of coach's wife's libel suit against ESPN

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | February 19, 2013
February 19, 2013

A New York judge dismissed a portion of a libel suit against ESPN because the statements in question were reported from court documents and therefore protected under the state's fair report privilege.

Businessman can pursue defamation suit without showing proof of monetary loss, N.Y. appeals court rules

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | December 14, 2012
December 14, 2012

A man accused of throwing a severed horse head in a local politician's pool does not have to prove monetary loss to pursue a defamation lawsuit against his online accusers, an appellate court in New York ruled.