Monday, November 20, 2006

Judges Winning Libel Suits and the Costs of U.S. Litigation

Over at Concurring Opinions, Daniel Solove (GW) offers, in "The Cost of Litigation," his reaction to the recent case in which a jury awarded $7 million in damages to the Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice it found to have been defamed by a local newspaper (and to today's New York Times story on the case and the history of defamation suits brought by judges in their courts).  Noting that defense costs dwarf the real liability exposure in most defamation cases (say studies from the Media Law Resource Center), Dan wonders still whether a loser-pays rule is really a viable solution and invites Comments. 

UPDATE:  For the somewhat unrelated story of a Pennsylvania lawyer suing a dating/411/slur website for defamation, based on his being dissed horribly by an ex-girlfriend (or anonymous critics), see the How Appealing blog here and here.  Nah, the U.S. is not over-lawyered nor are litigation costs too high....  The website, www[dot]DontDateHimGirl[dot]com, is not linked here.  Whether such a case has legs may well depend on whether the site is merely relaying others' views or is considered a "publisher," especially since some recent cases like this one reported on in California protect mere posters of others' defamatory information.  [Alan Childress]

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