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Newspaper fight moves into court with defamation claim

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  1. Libel and Privacy
The Associated Press reported today on a Midwest-newspaper tale of small-scale internecine warfare, erupting this week into the courts with a…

The Associated Press reported today on a Midwest-newspaper tale of small-scale internecine warfare, erupting this week into the courts with a defamation lawsuit.  

It seems more than a dozen employees of the 121-year-old Southwest Times in Liberal, Kan., ditched the newspaper and its parent Liberal Publishing Co. a while back and started a paper of their own, the High Plains Daily Leader. According to The AP, Liberal Publishing is now striking out with a federal suit against some of those employees alleging computer fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty and defamation, among other things.  

The suit alleges the former employees conspired to take down the Southwest Times, stole company information and lied to cover up their plan, the wire service says. The Southwest Times scaled back to publish only three days a week and made other cutbacks before the Daily Leader launched.

The Daily Leader folks deny any wrongdoing, saying the suit is just an attempt to run them out of business, and they are considering a "countersuit for libel," the paper’s managing editor told The AP.