Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Some authorities on lawsuits weigh-in on Sarah Palin's threat to sue

From ABC News' The Note:

Sarah Palin may have threatened to sue the publisher and author of a scathing book about her life, but her rise to fame and public prominence since her failed 2008 vice presidential bid could make her case difficult to prove, according to attorneys who deal with similar cases.

Palin’s attorney sent a letter to Crown Publishing, a division of Random House, Monday evening, informing them Palin may sue the publishing house and author of “The Rogue,” Joe McGinniss, “for knowingly publishing false statements” in the book released last week.

But attorneys who handle defamation and libel cases involving public figures say it’s not easy to prove the legal standard of whether an author either knowingly published false reporting or had malicious intent. James Janowitz, a New York attorney who has defended celebrities in defamation cases, says the bar for Palin’s potential suit ”is as high as it gets.”

“The standard is very high. It requires falsity of the statements of the reports or actual malice, and maybe they could meet that standard, but there is nothing here that would indicate they could,” Janowitz said after examining the letter sent to Crown.

“The reporter or the author is not libelous merely for repeating or reporting false things about the subject, and that’s really the key thing. It doesn’t matter that’s he’s wrong. It matters whether or not he knew what he was writing was false,” Janowitz said. “If he had contrary information or if he made it up and it was false and he had no source at all and he did it for the purpose of either hurting her or boosting the sales of his book when he knew what he was saying was probably false, then he’s in trouble. But that’s a very high bar.” ...

ABC News' article is "Sarah Palin May Have a Hard Time Proving Defamation," and it contains much more information (and opinion) than I've excerpted, here.

My opinion is here and has an example from the book illustrating how the book's author did not "present as fact" something that may be troubling Sarah Palin. That is an example of what Janowitz is talking about in the last excerpted paragraph, above. At one point in ABC's article, it's said that legal discovery might be painful for a lot of people, but consider Palingates' "Sarah Palin wants to know who said what."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sara needs to watch the Paul Newman movie - Absence of Malice. Once she watches it then her attorney can explain that Absent Malice she has no case against Joe or Crown