Libel

This section covers the state law governing libel suits. The standards governing such suits are influenced by many things, including whether the subject of a story is a public figure or public official. This also covers the defenses to libel suits, including the "fair report" privilege, the opinion defense and anti-SLAPP laws.

Mann v. National Review

November 13, 2013

The Reporters Committee and 19 other news organizations filed an amicus brief with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals urging it to accept jurisdiction to hear an immediate appeal of the denial of a special motion to dismiss under the D.C. anti-SLAPP statute.

Doe v. Burke

October 22, 2013

The Reporters Committee and seven other organizations filed an amicus brief with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals urging it to reverse an order of the D.C. Superior Court denying a Wikipedia editor's special motion to quash under the D.C. anti-SLAPP statute.

Esquire defends satire against "birther" authors in federal court

Cindy Gierhart | Libel | News | October 3, 2013
News
October 3, 2013

Esquire magazine argued before a federal court in Washington, D.C., this morning that its May 2011 commentary about a “birther” book was satire and therefore protected speech under the First Amendment.

D.C. District Court applies local anti-SLAPP statute, dismisses defamation claim against Foreign Policy

Cindy Gierhart | Libel | News | October 1, 2013
News
October 1, 2013

A federal judge dismissed a defamation claim by the Palestinian Authority leader’s son against a Washington, D.C.-based magazine and applied the district's anti-SLAPP statute in federal court.

Appeals court upholds dismissal of defamation suit against Spitzer, Slate

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

Experts share prepublication tips to avoid lawsuits

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Here are some tips for reporters who don’t have access to legal experts for a prepublication review process.

Erik Wemple, blogger for The Washington Post:

A closer look at the "Bag Men" defamation lawsuit

In the claim against the controversial New York Post, false implication will be hard to prove
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Air Wisconsin v. Hoeper

September 5, 2013

The Reporters Committee and 15 other news organizations filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging it to overturn a Colorado Supreme Court decision that allowed a defamation verdict to stand without considering whether the statements were substantially true.

Texas state appeals court dismisses defamation suit against television news station

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

New York appeals division orders dismissal of school teacher's "slush fund" defamation suit

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | July 11, 2013
News
July 11, 2013

A New York appeals court has ruled that a local newspaper and its reporter were not liable for defamation despite incorrectly reporting that a school teacher collected money from students for a “slush fund” used to buy an air conditioner for the faculty.