Limited purpose public figure

Montgomery v. Risen

April 3, 2017

Defendant-Appellee James Risen, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, is author of Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, And Endless War, a political critique about the United States government’s response to the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001. Plaintiff-Appellant Dennis Montgomery sued Risen and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing for statements made about him in the book, which suggest he is a "con artist" and "fake" who perpetuated “one of the most elaborate and dangerous hoaxes in American history” by convincing the government he developed software that could track hidden messages from terrorists in Al Jazeera broadcasts. Montgomery lost on summary judgment after the court found that he was a limited purpose public figure and that most of the statements at issue in the case amounted to opinion that is not actionable under the First Amendment.

D.C. high court allows immediate appeal of denial of anti-SLAPP motion

Kevin Delaney | Libel | News | May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014

The District of Columbia's high court ruled Thursday that denials of anti-SLAPP motions to quash are immediately appealable, reversing a lower court order that would have forced Wikipedia to disclose data revealing the identity of an anonymous poster to the company’s site.

The case started after Susan L. Burke, a prominent human-rights attorney, filed a lawsuit claiming several anonymous defendants conspired to defame her by making changes to a Wikipedia page devoted to her legal work. Burke requested Wikipedia’s user data in an attempt to uncover the posters’ true identities.

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.

Dismissal of N.Y. journalist's libel suit against critic upheld

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | February 26, 2013
February 26, 2013

A New York appellate panel upheld the dismissal of a defamation suit filed by a journalist against a prominent AIDS activist who criticized her articles about the disease.

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.

Prisoner who placed online ad must prove actual malice

Kacey Deamer | Libel | Feature | February 23, 2011
February 23, 2011

An incarcerated felon who placed a personal advertisement on a website is a limited purpose public figure who could not meet the heightened standard of proof of actual malice in his defamation claim against the Boston Herald and a Herald reporter for the paper's series on prisoners and online dating, a Massachusetts appellate court ruled earlier this week in LaChance v. Boston Herald.