Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The Fourth Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a defamation lawsuit brought by Dr. Steven Hatfill against the New York Times and reporter Nicholas Kristof. Mr. Kristof had discussed Dr. Hatfill in the context of the anthrax letters sent in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, linking him to the mysterious Mr. X. At the same time, the Department of Justice had identified Dr. Hatfill as a "person of interest" in the anthrax investigation. Dr. Hatfill and the Justice Department settled an invasion of privacy lawsuit last month. Read more here in a Times article. Here's a link to the case: Hatfill v. New York Times et al. Generally, the court holds that because Dr. Hatfill as a limited purpose public figure is required to show actual malice on the part of the defendants, and has not done so, the lower court properly dismissed the case.