LexisNexis® Legal Newsroom
Lawffice Links - NLRB Social Media Ruling Protects Defamation?

The NLRB continues to assault address employers' social media policies with a recent ruling that appears to protect defamation. Huh? The employer's policy prohibited online postings . . . "that damage the Company, defame any individual or damage any person's reputation, or violate the...

Virginia Right to Nonsuit Unaffected by Federal Court Dismissal

Dr. Adel S. Kebaish filed a defamation case in Fairfax County Circuit Court against INOVA Health Care Services and several doctors alleging defamation , breach of contract , tortious interference , conspiracy , wrongful termination and unjust enrichment. Defendants removed the case to federal court,...

Government Defamation May Violate Civil Rights

In theory at least, when a government agency defames an individual, the defamation may be characterized as a violation of civil rights: a deprivation of "liberty" without due process of law. The United States Supreme Court, however, has held that an ordinary state-law defamation claim against...

Defamatory Statements to Credit Reporting Agencies Held Not Preempted by FCRA

Michelle Bourdelais brought a defamation claim in the Richmond Division of the Eastern District of Virginia against Chase Bank and Chase Home Finance, based on Chase's alleged reporting of inaccurate information about the status of her mortgage payments to consumer reporting agencies. Chase...

Absence of Malice Presumed in Employment Context

Emmett Jafari sued the Greater Richmond Transit Company for defamation and retaliation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Jafari was a Specialized Transportation Field Supervisor for a Virginia company that transported clients enrolled in a state economic program. John Rush, a GRTC driver, told...

Bloggers Rally to Defense of Defamation Defendant

I have previously written about Crystal Cox, a self-styled investigative blogger, who found herself on the receiving end of a judgment for $2.5 million after she posted caustic comments about a bankruptcy trustee. You can find the prior post here . One aspect of the District Court's opinion...

FTCA Bars Defamation Claims Against Federal Government

If you work for the federal government and a co-worker spreads false and malicious rumors about you that damage your reputation, it will be very difficult to pursue a claim for libel or slander against the individual in question. The recent Maryland case of Shake v. Gividen [ an enhanced version...

Contractor’s Beware – Careful What You Say: It May Be Actionable Defamation

By Neil Lowenstein The Virginia Supreme Court recently held that a contractor could sue a competitor for defamation for asserting to the plaintiff contractor's client that the plaintiff contractor told the competitor he was going to "screw" the client. The lower court had dismissed the...

Federal Employees May Be Immune from Defamation Claims

I previously reported on the Stafford County case of Suzanne Brown v. Katherine Schoeneman in which Brown, an FBI agent, brought a defamation action against Schoeneman for allegedly false reports Schoeneman made to superiors accusing Brown of making sexual advances toward her. The Government removed...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: D.C. Court Affirms Michael Mann’s Right to Proceed in Defamation Lawsuit

Superior Court of D.C. has affirmed Michael Mann’s right to proceed in his defamation lawsuit against Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the National Review, Inc. and related parties. The Court’s ruling is significant for giving a climate scientist a potential remedy against those who...

How to Unmask Anonymous Yelp Reviewers Who Defame Your Business

The First Amendment protects anonymous speech, including online reviews of products and services written by people using fake names. The right to anonymous speech, however, is not absolute. Defamatory speech , whether or not anonymous, is not entitled to protection, as there is no constitutional value...

Montana: Civil Suit Fails Against Nurse Who Noted in Medical Record That Claimant Might Be Malingering

The Supreme Court of Montana recently affirmed a trial court’s summary judgment order favoring a nurse who had been sued for defamation by a workers’ compensation claimant after the defendant nurse documented in the claimant’s medical file that claimant may have been malingering or...

Forced Apology and Admission of Inappropriate Conduct Held Not Defamatory

Defamation claims arise frequently in employment settings. Employees often disagree with their performance reviews and, if they feel particularly aggrieved, resort to the courts to extract a modicum of revenge. Unfortunately for them, statements relating to employee discipline and termination made by...

Fresenius Medical Care Sued for Allegedly Defamatory Statements of Employee

As a business owner, you can't control everything your employees will do or say. What if one of them defames the character of another employee while on the job? Can the business be held responsible? If the employee uttered the defamatory words while performing the employer's business and acting...

No Intra-Corporate Immunity Against Defamation Claims

Workplace defamation actions face a number of obstacles. The one that probably comes up the most is the issue of qualified privilege. Employees often claim that a manager or supervisor defamed them in the course of a termination or negative performance evaluation. These statements are usually protected...

Paul Brodeur's Lawsuit Against Columbia Pictures

So you may have heard that environmental scientist Paul Brodeur is seeking $1 million in damages for libel, defamation, slander and false light against the movie studios behind 2013's highly acclaimed film American Hustle. Why? Because according to him, the movie damaged his reputation by "attributing...

Social Media and Insurance: The Insider's Guide to Successful Risk Assessment and Management

This new LexisNexis publication, written by attorneys Carrie E. Cope, Dirk E. Elhers, and Keith W. Mandell, provides practical analysis and legal guidance for using social media in business. An essential publication, Social Media and Insurance: The Insider's Guide to Successful Risk Assessment...

Siblings Who Hate Each Other and Insurance Coverage

Tapas: Small Dishes of Insurance Coverage News & Notes In Peerless Indem. Ins. Co. v. Moshe & Stimson LLP, 2014 Ind. App. LEXIS 642 (Ind. Ct. App. Dec. 30, 2014), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the court held that no coverage was owed to a law partner, under a...

Attacks on Canadian Climate Scientist Ruled to be Defamation

A trial court in British Columbia has awarded $50,000 CAD (roughly $40,000 USD in current exchange rates) to distinguished climate scientist Dr. Andrew Weaver, finding that a collection of articles had defamed him.[1] The judgment is controlling authority only within British Columbia, but it is still...

Warning To NY Litigators − What Privilege Attaches To Pre-Litigation Attorney Statements? NY Appeals Court Answers: Qualified

By Richard F. Hans , Andrew L. Deutsch , and Cherelle I. Glimp New York law has long recognized that attorneys who make defamatory statements in connection with an existing litigation enjoy an absolute privilege against claims for libel and slander. Whether such a privilege extends to statements...

Virginia's Subpoena Power Does Not Extend Beyond Its Borders

Back in 2012, the Alexandria Circuit Court ruled in an Internet defamation case that discovery could be obtained from a nonresident third party by serving a subpoena on the company's registered agent in Virginia. That decision was reversed last week by the Virginia Supreme Court in an unambiguous...

Pennsylvania Court Holds Disputed Allegations In Complaint Do Not Negate Duty to Defend

In its recent decision in Navigators Ins. Co. v. Amsterdam , 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64385 (E.D. Pa. May 18, 2015), [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania had occasion to consider whether an insurer can rely on...

Climate Blogger Sued for $2 Million for “Tortious Interference with Contract” and “Conspiracy”

In the newest variation of legal attacks on climate science, tandem lawsuits were filed against climate science blogger and computer scientist John Mashey,[1] in retaliation for his work to uncover academic misconduct by several researchers who disputed widely-accepted findings on global warming. (There...

Georgia Court Holds Coverage Triggered for Product Disparagement Claim

In its recent decision in Foliar Nutrients v. Nationwide Agribusiness Ins. Co ., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125528, [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this opinion: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], (M.D. Ga. Sept. 21, 2015), the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia had occasion...

It’s Not Illegal to Give a Negative Job Reference, But…

When you receive a phone call from a company looking for information on a former employee that was a less than stellar employee, or worse, fired, do you? (a) Ignore it. (b) Confirm only the fact of prior employment and dates. (c) Give a truthful, negative reference. Most employers do either “a”...