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.

Hawaii follows in California's footsteps in proposing new anti-paparazzi law

Rocker Steven Tyler leads charge
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Photo by Pacific Coast News

Steven Tyler, seen here in Maui, wants to be able to sue photographers for taking unwanted pictures.

Steven Tyler is certainly not camera shy. The aging Aerosmith frontman and former “American Idol” judge memorably stripped to his underwear on the set of that talent show before plopping into a pool of water.

Third Circuit concludes articles about Virgin Islands judge's bail decisions not libelous

Jack Komperda | Libel | News | March 12, 2013
March 12, 2013

A retired Virgin Islands Superior Court judge was unable to prove that a reporter had malicious intent when writing articles that he believed defamed him, according to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia (3rd Cir.).

The decision on Friday affirms a ruling by the Virgin Islands Supreme Court dismissing Leon Kendall’s defamation claims against the Virgin Islands Daily News and one of its reporters.

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.

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.

Defamation suit against Texas man dismissed under state anti-SLAPP law

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | February 12, 2013
February 12, 2013

A vocal Jacinto City, Texas citizen cannot be sued for defamation after repeatedly accusing a police officer of corruption and calling for his firing during city council meetings, a judge ruled Monday, relying on a state anti-SLAPP statute.

Harris County District Judge Elaine Palmer threw out the defamation suit three days after a hearing explored whether Jacinto City Police Sgt. Dennis Walker could sue resident Larry Schion.

Jennings v. Wallbuilder Presentations Inc.

February 12, 2013

David Barton, president of Wallbuilder Presentations Inc., sued Petitioners Judy Jennings and Rebecca Bell-Metereau for defamation in connection with a video the pair — who ran for the Texas State Board of Education in 2010 — produced about a controversy involving state school curriculum guidelines. Jennings and Bell-Metereau filed a motion to dismiss Barton's case under the Texas Citizens Participation Act.

Minn. Supreme Court finds negative online comments were opinions, not defamatory facts

Lilly Chapa | Libel | News | February 5, 2013
February 5, 2013

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that negative online reviews about a local neurologist were not defamatory and are protected under the First Amendment.

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.

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.