Libel

First Amendment Watch Teacher Guide: Can First Amendment Defenses Save Provocateur Alex Jones From The Sandy Hook Libel Suits?

First Amendment Watch Teacher Guide: Can First Amendment Defenses Save Provocateur Alex Jones From The Sandy Hook Libel Suits?

People whose reputation has been harmed by a publication may decide to sue for libel. In today’s highly charged political environment, a number of high-profile libel suits have been filed as a result of public controversies. Among them, Sandy Hook Elementary School parents sued Alex Jones and Infowars; coal mogul Robert Murray sued Last Week Tonight host John Oliver; Stormy Daniels, a porn star, sued Donald Trump; and a woman who claimed Bill Cosby assaulted her sued him for libel.

Sandy Hook parents, who suffered the trauma of losing their children to a mass murderer, and their lawsuit against conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, provides a compelling case study for teaching defamation law.

September 6, 2018 Libel, Teacher Guides
FILE PHOTO: Roy Moore (L) and Sacha Baron Cohen are seen in this combination photo in Midland City, Alabama, U.S., December 11, 2017 and in Hollywood, California February 28, 2016 respectively.   REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman (L) REUTERS/Adrees Latif (R)

Roy Moore Sues Sacha Baron Cohen For $95 Million In Defamation Case, Claiming False Portrayal As Sex Offender

September 5, 2018: The Former Alabama Senate Candidate Claims He Was Duped On Show Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is suing Sacha Baron Cohen, CBS, and Showtime for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud, for implying that he is a pedophile on the July 29 episode of Cohen’s satirical show “Who Is America?” Moore is seeking $95[Read More…]

September 6, 2018 Libel, Top Stories
Defamation Lawsuits Pile Up Against InfoWars And Alex Jones

Defamation Lawsuits Pile Up Against InfoWars And Alex Jones

The 2012 Sandy Hook school massacre which killed 20 children and 6 adults galvanized parents and relatives of those murdered to promote gun reform. One conservative commentator who responded negatively to their efforts: Alex Jones and his Infowars which ran segments claiming the massacre at Sandy Hook was “a giant hoax.” Jones’ followers have continued to harass Sandy Hook families. Now Leonard Pozner and his former wife, Veronique De La Rosa, parents of Noah Pozner, and Neil Heslin, the father of Jesse Lewis, have responded by filing two defamation suits against Alex Jones stating “defendants’ defamatory statements were knowingly false or made with reckless disregard for the truth.” They are seeking at least $1 million in damages. This is the second time this year Alex Jones has been sued for defamation. In March, Brennan Gilmore, sued Jones for stories that led to threats against him. Now, six more families of Sandy Hook victims and an FBI agent filed a third defamation lawsuit Wednesday against Jones.

August 30, 2018 Libel, Top Stories
FILE PHOTO --  USA Boxing - Manny Pacquiao & Jessie Vargas - Head-to-Head Press Conference - Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hills - 8/9/16Steve Wynn during the press conference. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo

Ballard Spahr: Nevada Court Rejects Defamation Claim Brought Against Associated Press by Casino Mogul

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr In an opinion and order issued yesterday, a Nevada state court dismissed with prejudice a defamation claim brought by businessman Steve Wynn against the Associated Press (AP) and one of its reporters. The court held that the challenged news report was absolutely privileged as a fair and accurate summary of a publicly available police[Read More…]

August 27, 2018 Libel
FILE PHOTO: Tablets of the opioid-based Hydrocodone at a pharmacy in Portsmouth, Ohio, U.S. on June 21, 2017.   REUTERS/Bryan Woolston/File Photo

Ballard Spahr: W. Virginia Court Rejects Claim Opioid Reports Defamed Pharmacist

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr A West Virginia federal court has rejected defamation claims arising from two Peabody Award-winning CBS Evening News reports about the opioid epidemic. Granting CBS’s motion for summary judgment on Tuesday, Judge Joseph Goodwin wrote that CBS’s journalists had “thoroughly investigated” this ongoing crisis, and described their reporting as “applaudable.” In 2016, CBS aired a series of news reports about[Read More…]

August 23, 2018 Libel, Privacy
Ballard Spahr: A Five-Star Decision: Yelp’s Recent Victory Reaffirms Broad Protections of Section 230

Ballard Spahr: A Five-Star Decision: Yelp’s Recent Victory Reaffirms Broad Protections of Section 230

Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr In a closely watched decision with significant ramifications for online speech, earlier this week, the California Supreme Court struck down an injunction requiring Yelp, a popular online consumer review platform, to remove two allegedly defamatory reviews from its website. The decision is important because it rejected a potential procedural end-run around Section 230 of[Read More…]

July 6, 2018 Libel, Speech, Top Stories
Charges Dropped Against New Hampshire Man Arrested For Defaming Police Chief

Charges Dropped Against New Hampshire Man Arrested For Defaming Police Chief

June 7, 2018: Police Drop Criminal Defamation Charges  The Exeter police dropped charges against Robert Frese who was arrested for criminal defamation of a police chief for a comment made online. In a press release, Exeter police said that, “In further review by the attorney general’s office of the facts of this case and the law, it is their opinion[Read More…]

June 11, 2018 Libel, Top Stories
Columnist and The Dallas Morning News Argue in Libel Case that First Amendment Protects Contested Opinion Piece– and Win

Columnist and The Dallas Morning News Argue in Libel Case that First Amendment Protects Contested Opinion Piece– and Win

Parents of Paul Tatum, a teenager who committed suicide, sued now retired columnist Steve Blow at The Dallas Morning News for libel in regards to a piece he wrote in 2010 about their son’s death. The court however decided the column was protected by the First Amendment as it was an opinion piece and therefore protected speech. “The publication of Blow’s column may have run afoul of certain journalistic, ethical, and other standards. But the standards governing the law of defamation are not among them,” wrote Justice Jeff Brown, a former Texas Supreme Court chief justice who handled the case in the Supreme Court.

May 17, 2018 Libel, News Gathering, Press, Top Stories
American University Student Sues Neo-Nazi Site, Daily Stormer

American University Student Sues Neo-Nazi Site, Daily Stormer

May 1, 2018: Trollers, Online Harassers Taken To Task in New Lawsuit American University student Taylor Dumpson is bringing one of the first event student activist lawsuits against alt-right and online trolls, according to The Chronicle for Higher Education. In her suit, Dumpson states that, “just one day after being inaugurated as the first female African American student government president at[Read More…]

May 5, 2018 Libel, Speech, Top Stories
Will Stormy Daniel’s Defamation Suit Against President Trump Proceed?

Will Stormy Daniel’s Defamation Suit Against President Trump Proceed?

  April 30, 2018: First Summer Zervos, Now Stormy Daniels Charge President With Defamation Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, brought suit against President Trump in federal court in New York for “falsely attacking” her statement about a threatening incident that occurred in 2011 related to “her intention to tell the story of her relationship with Mr. Trump.” In a tweet[Read More…]

May 2, 2018 Libel, Top Stories