On February 15th, a jury in the District Court for the Southern District of New York, dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by Sarah Palin, a former governor of Alaska and vice presidential candidate in 2008, against The New York Times. The decision came a day before U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said that he planned to dismiss the suit if the jury sided with Palin. Rakoff maintained that Palin’s lawyers were unable to prove the newspaper published with “actual malice” when it incorrectly linked her to a mass shooting in a Times editorial.
On August 3rd, Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA) filed a libel suit against NBCUniversal and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow over comments she made in March about his relationship with a Ukranian lawmaker and suspected Russian spy. Nunes is notorious for filing frivolous defamation lawsuits against his critics. In just a 12 month time period between— March 2019 and November 2020, the Congressman filed seven libel lawsuits.
On May 18th, Fox News filed a motion to dismiss the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed against it by Dominion Voting Systems, an election technology company used in more than two dozen states during the 2020 presidential election.
On May 4th, a federal judge in Maryland sanctioned Representative Devin Nunes’s longtime attorney, Steve Biss, for filing a “frivolous” defamation lawsuit against CNN.
On May 4th, a candidate seeking the Republican nomination for Virginia Lieutenant Governor filed a defamation lawsuit against “Jane Doe,” after an anonymous text message was sent to convention delegates calling him a “gay Democrat.”
Dr. Luke is suing pop star Kesha over claims she made that he raped both her and singer Katy Perry. Free expression groups have argued that courts should interpret the public figure doctrine more broadly in libel suits involving sexual assault claims.
Tonya Chapman, chair of the Virginia Parole Board, filed a defamation lawsuit on March 29th in the Circuit Court for the City of Richmond against CBS affiliate WTVR-TV and reporter Jonathan Burkett. The lawsuit stems from Burkett’s reporting on a draft report from the Office of the State Inspector General (OSIG) that allegedly implicated Chapman’s involvement in the early release of a prisoner.