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.

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.

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

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

Court rules that scientific articles are protected from defamation suits

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

Federal judge dismisses former Liberian rebel leader's defamation claim using D.C. Anti-SLAPP statute

Jeff Zalesin | Libel | News | June 27, 2013
News
June 27, 2013

A federal district judge in Washington, D.C., dismissed a former Liberian rebel leader's defamation claim against The Atlantic under the District's anti-SLAPP law Tuesday, rejecting the plaintiff’s claim that the statute did not apply in federal court.

Supreme Court to hear Air Wisconsin defamation caseon immunity in reporting security threats

Amy Zhang | Libel | News | June 18, 2013
News
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.

Newspaper's statements about school principal are opinion and not defamatory, N.Y. judge rules

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | May 1, 2013
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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.

Oakland mayoral candidate loses appeal of unsuccessful defamation suit against weekly newspaper

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | April 30, 2013
News
April 30, 2013

A three-judge California appeals court panel has denied an Oakland mayoral candidate’s appeal of a lower court’s decision to toss out her libel suit against a weekly newspaper concerning coverage of her campaign.

Marcie Hodge, a local politician who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Oakland in 2010, sued the East Bay Express for defamation soon after a September 2010 column ran in the newspaper questioning the motivations behind her bid.

Judge rules N.Y. newspaper protected by fair report privilege

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | April 26, 2013
News
April 26, 2013

A New York trial court judge dismissed a defamation claim brought by a convicted sex offender against a local newspaper that reported on his arrest and guilty plea.

Queens County Judge Sidney F. Strauss concluded this week that Wave Publishing Co., publishers of the weekly newspaper The Wave in Rockaway Beach, were protected by the state’s fair report privilege for a 2008 story concerning the criminal charges brought by local authorities against Jacek Marczewski, the custodian of a synagogue in Far Rockaway, Queens.