Public officials using libel suits as a weapon against the press is nothing new. In the time of Times v. Sullivan, southern officials had brought nearly $300 million in libel actions against the press. For reference, Nunes alone has brought just over $900 million in defamation claims in a twelve-month period.
"[T]he Court has significant concerns about forum shopping," U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Judge Robert E. Paynes wrote. "As the Court has explained to Plaintiff's counsel on numerous occasions, the Court cannot stand as a willing repository for cases which have no real nexus to this district.”
In September 2019, Justin Fairfax sued CBS over its interviews and subsequent coverage of two sexual assault claims against him. This week, a U.S. District Judge dismissed his claims, citing no evidence that CBS' coverage would have led a reasonable viewer to assume they were true or that the organization endorsed the women's allegations.
Current loopholes in the state's law have lured a number of individuals into using Virginia courts to intimidate their critics. For example, of the six defamation complaints Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed in the past year, four were filed in Virginia.
Reprinted with Permission from Ballard Spahr In an opinion and order issued yesterday, a Nevada state court dismissed with prejudice […]