Substantial truth

New York court adopts standard for defamation by implication

Danielle Keeton-Olsen | Libel | News | May 30, 2014
May 30, 2014

A New York appellate court unanimously upheld a decision protecting a writer of Barron’s, a financial publication run by Dow Jones & Company, against defamation by implication and adopted a new standard for determining when implied facts can be defamatory.

Plaintiff Maxim A. Stepanov, founder of Midland Consult Ltd. and a former Russian diplomat, asserted that statements in Barron’s article, “Crime and Punishment in Putin’s Russia,” were defamatory by implication, meaning they did not directly state falsehoods but implied them.

Stepanov argued that the article implied his company associated with shell companies, drug cartels and weapons dealers, while falsely implying he was a diplomat under Vladimir Putin when he only served under Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin.

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.

Texas Supreme Court reinstates libel lawsuit, rejects rule on reporting of third-party allegations

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | July 1, 2013
July 1, 2013

The Texas Supreme Court reinstated a defamation suit against an Austin television station that aired a broadcast about a local physician, concluding there were factual issues in the case best left for a jury to decide.

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.

District court judge dismisses defamation claim over N.Y. Attorney General's press release

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

A New York federal judge has ruled that a dentist acquitted of fraudulently billing Medicaid for services he never performed will not be able to pursue a defamation claim against prosecutors who touted his indictment for a "million dollar Medicaid theft" in a press release.

Brooklyn dentist Leonard Morse was indicted in 2006 for larceny and ultimately acquitted the following year. He then sued the New York Attorney General's Office for defamation and other civil rights violations.

Washington state appeals court upholds dismissal of defamation case against Seattle news station

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

A Washington state appellate court on Monday upheld the dismissal of a defamation lawsuit filed by a Seattle transitional housing service against a local television news station, while avoiding ruling on a challenge to the constitutionality of the state's anti-SLAPP law.

The defamation suit stems from stories televised in 2010 by KIRO TV and later published on its website detailing the practice of U.S. Mission Corporation in using residents of its transitional shelters, some of whom had criminal backgrounds, to solicit door-to-door donations.

Media did not libel hero in Olympics bombing coverage

Clara Hogan | Libel | Feature | July 27, 2011
July 27, 2011

Reporters at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution did not libel a security guard, who was at first hailed as a hero after the 1996 bombing at Centennial Olympic Park, when they reported authorities were investigating him as a suspect in the bombing, the Georgia Court of Appeals ruled this month.

Saying prisoner was gang member is substantially true

Clara Hogan | Libel | Feature | July 25, 2011
July 25, 2011

A statement that someone is a member of a certain prison gang, when he merely conspired with its members, is substantially true and therefore protected against a defamation suit, a Colorado federal appellate court ruled this month.

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.

Accurate report on third-party allegations is not defamatory

Kristen Rasmussen | Libel | Feature | February 17, 2011
February 17, 2011

A Texas appellate court last week affirmed the dismissal of an Austin neurosurgeon’s defamation suit against a local television station, thereby recognizing that accurate and fair reports of allegations against the subject of a broadcast are protected.