Articles about "Libel"


Boston Herald loses libel case, says it will ‘ultimately prevail’

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly | Media Nation

A jury in Massachusetts awarded Joanna Marinova $563,000 for a 2009 Boston Herald story that claimed she’d had sex with an inmate in a prison waiting room, David E. Frank reports.

Dan Kennedy has a good backgrounder on the case.

The Herald’s law firm told Frank the article “was meticulously researched, carefully written and extremely well-documented” and said the paper “fully expects to ultimately prevail in this matter.” Read more

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National Enquirer funds playwriting foundation after false Philip Seymour Hoffman report

The New York Times

The National Enquirer and its publisher, American Media Incorporated, will fund a new group called the American Playwriting Foundation, “which will give out an annual prize of $45,000 for an unproduced play,” Jim Dwyer reports.

The foundation was set up by David Bar Katz, who the Enquirer falsely reported was in a relationship with Hoffman. “As part of the agreement, The Enquirer has also purchased a full-page advertisement in the main news section of Wednesday’s New York Times,” Dwyer writes. Katz and Hoffman were friends, and he found the actor’s body earlier this year.

Katz at Hoffman’s funeral on Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

The Enquirer quoted someone who claimed to be Katz, who sued. The Enquirer removed its story, but its essence appears to be archived on this site.

Neither the Enquirer nor Katz’s lawyer told Dwyer the amount of the settlement, but it’s “enough for the foundation to give out these grants for years to come,” Katz’s lawyer said. Read more

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Courtney Love

Jury finds Courtney Love did not defame in first American Twibel trial

SPIN

After a seven-day trial and a few hours of deliberation, the jury ruled in favor of Courtney Love in the first defamation trial in the U.S. involving a tweet.

According to SPIN Magazine, the jury was not convinced Love published the tweet with a reckless disregard for the truth:

While the 12-person jury agreed that Love’s public statement was false and likely injurious to [Rhonda] Holmes, they were not convinced that Love didn’t believe it to be true. They were asked: “Did Rhonda Holmes prove by clear and convincing evidence that Courtney Love knew it was false or doubted the truth of it?” And the answer was, “No.” And regarding a statement she made to reporter Alan Cross about an unnamed attorney (Holmes), the jury decided that Cross had no reason to know Holmes was indeed the subject thereof.

In the 2010 tweet, Love posted a tweet insinuating Holmes, her former attorney, had taken a bribe. Read more

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Courtney Love in concert Philadelphia. (Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

How Courtney Love and U.S.’s first Twitter libel trial could impact journalists

How does defamation law apply in the context of Twitter?

We may find out very soon thanks to Courtney Love, who is the first person to defend an allegedly defamatory tweet in a U.S. courtroom when the Gordon & Holmes v. Love trial began yesterday.

A handful of Twitter libel, or Twibel, cases have been filed in the past (see below), but none have actually gone to trial in the U.S. yet.

The tweet

In 2010, Courtney Love accused her former attorney Rhonda Holmes of bribery, tweeting, “I was f—— devestated [sic] when Rhonda J. Holmes esq. of san diego was bought off @FairNewsSpears perhaps you can get a quote.” Love posted the tweet after Holmes, her attorney at the time, declined to help Love bring a fraud case against those managing the estate of Love’s late husband, Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain.

The tweet has since been deleted, but the case lives on — and so do the potential legal implications for publishers. Read more

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UNC journalism students get libel insurance

The Daily Tar Heel

University of North Carolina journalism students now enjoy some financial protection in the event of libel suits, thanks to a year-long multimedia insurance policy purchased by the school, according to a report in The Daily Tar Heel.

“The insurance covers lawsuits related to libel, copyright infringement and invasion of privacy,” Haley Waxman writes. Read more

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Twitter users face libel claims for spreading false accusation

The Economist | Guardian | New York Times
The BBC falsely accused retired British politician Alistair McAlpine of child sexual abuse, and paid a hefty £185,000 fine to settle the matter earlier this month. But now McAlpine is also pressing for compensation from thousands of people who tweeted about the BBC story at the time.

In the United States, such a charge would be unlikely to stick. Our laws, for instance, may protect claims made with an honest and reasonable belief that they were true at the time. British law is notoriously friendly to claimants, such that foreigners sometimes try to get British jurisdiction for their libel suits even when the case has little connection to the country.

About 1,000 tweeters implicated McAlpine, and another 9,000 retweeted their messages, The Economist reports. McAlpine’s lawyers have told those with fewer than 500 followers they can make amends with an online apology and a donation to charity. Read more

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