Defamation Lawyer

Defamation Notable Cases:

Defamation law cases involve instances where individuals or entities claim that false statements have been made about them, damaging their reputation. Here are some famous examples of defamation cases. (Note, these cases were not represented by Kolman Law).

New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964): The landmark case in the United States that established the "actual malice" standard for public officials to succeed in a defamation lawsuit. The Supreme Court ruled that to be considered defamatory, false statements about public officials must be made with knowledge of their falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth.

McLibel case (1997): McDonald's Corporation sued two activists in the United Kingdom for libel over a leaflet criticizing the company's practices. Although McDonald's won the case, it became a public relations disaster, and the activists took the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which ruled in their favor.

Lange v. Australian Broadcasting Corporation (1997): This Australian case affirmed that the defense of qualified privilege could extend to reports about political matters, recognizing the importance of free speech in the context of political discussions.

Dow Jones & Company Inc. v. Gutnick (2002): This case involved an Australian businessman, Joseph Gutnick, suing Dow Jones for defamation over an article published on its website. The Australian High Court ruled that the article was actionable in Australia, where the plaintiff's reputation was affected, even though the article was published in the United States.

Kingston v. BBC (1994): The case involved a British politician, Neil Hamilton, suing the BBC for libel over allegations of corruption. The court ruled in favor of Hamilton, but the case brought attention to issues of journalistic ethics and the public's right to know.

Ehrenfeld v. Mahfouz (2005): The case involved Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American author, being sued for defamation by a Saudi billionaire, Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz. Ehrenfeld claimed that her book exposed Mahfouz's alleged involvement in financing terrorism. The case raised questions about the extraterritorial reach of defamation laws.

Elton John v. Times Newspapers Ltd (1997): Elton John, the famous musician, sued The Sunday Times for libel over an article that claimed he had a diet of only four baked beans a day. The court ruled in favor of Elton John, emphasizing the importance of fact-checking in journalism.

Dee Snider v. NBC (1985): The Twisted Sister lead singer, Dee Snider, sued NBC for defamation after they portrayed him as a violent and unintelligent person in a made-for-TV movie. The court ruled in favor of Snider, emphasizing the false portrayal of his character.

These cases highlight the complexity of defamation law and the balance between protecting reputations and upholding the right to free speech. Laws and standards vary by jurisdiction, and each case is unique based on its circumstances and the legal principles applied.