Is This A Common Legal Tactic (Palin v. New York Times)

I’m being misquoted! Libeled! :slight_smile:

Yes, very unusual and probably reversable error for the reasons you state.

Unusual, certainly. Reversible error, almost certainly not. The parties didn’t object, and the juror said it was disregarded in deliberations. Palin’s lawyers will make a run at it, because it’s an obvious and easy argument to make. The Court of Appeals is unlikely to say denying the motion for a new trial was an abuse of discretion. (which I think would be the standard)

Plain error? Pretty close.

“Yeah, I’m instructing you in violation of controlling Supreme Court law…”

Thread for debating the issues.

Please take the in-depth discussion there, because I really want to hear all the opinions on this and FQ isn’t the place to let loose on the subject.

There’s a difference between plain error and reversible error. In my opinion, this is neither

The judge has told the jury “go ahead and give her money. It will be reversed anyways.” I don’t know how such an award could stand.

Sorry, I misunderstood your point. I thought you were saying the verdict for the defense was going to be reversed because of this. I agree that if the verdict had been for Palin, the analysis would be different.

Ah, well it is my fault more so because I didn’t keep up and see that the jury ruled against Palin. :slight_smile:

This is more of an IMHO/GD topic to me. But count me as another Doper attorney who thinks it is unusual for a court to rule notwithstanding the jury verdict before the jury has actually verdicted.

You don’t post enough these days!

And I’ll add my name to the list if Doper attorneys signing off on this statement.

(I was in a federal trial where we argued - correctly - that one of about 10 counts hadn’t been proven. The judge intimated that he’d rule in our favor, but first wanted to see what the jury did. They were paying attention, and they also acquitted the defendant on this one count. This meant the judge didn’t have to rule, which eliminated a possible point of appeal. In this case, this judge has seemingly created an issue for Palin to appeal).

There was some discussion of this in the comments section to the Volokh blog, and several people who seemed familiar with the guy commented that this judge is a brilliant jurist but not quite as brilliant as he thinks he is.

So basically like SCotUS, “yes we’ve read this appeal request and we’re not going to do anything about it. Lower court judgement stands.”

Is that a dead end, or can the lawyers then appeal that decision higher up the ladder? (Why doesn’t almost every case end up at the Supremes’ feet?) Or is it the case that it’s very rare to get a higher court to hear something the appeals courts below declined to even have a hearing on?

Alas, becoming an attorney has really cut into my time on the SDMB. :frowning:

No. The Supreme Court can deny review and not address the merits. Generally the first level appellate court has to consider the arguments.

Bingo, counselor.

Now it may end up being that she is declared a limited public figure, only subjected to being libeled about things related to the issues she’s speaking about.

But it’s practically definitional, if you speak in public about something, you’re a public figure, at least to some extent.

Now IANAL, but I do have a computer with a search engine - and while there is a bar for someone being declared a public figure, it’s way too low for Sara Palin to fit under. Did you know that if you are in a bank that is being robbed, and you play the hero and foil the robbery, you are probably a limited public figure? This is because you took an action that caused you to become a person of public interest. It’s doesn’t matter that it wasn’t your intention, that you foiled the robbery to save lives, not to become famous.

Now there are a couple of other cases going on now where there may be a legitimate dispute over whether a litigant is a public figure. One case involves Dr. Eric Coomer, an employee of Dominion Voting Systems. He is suing several right wing media outlets and commentators because they put him at the center of the big voter fraud conspiracy. The facts of the case seem to indicate that the only action Coomer took to lead to these false accusations and unwanted attention was posting some anti-Trump memes and messages on his private personal Facebook page.

The question will be if those Facebook messages are enough to get him declared a limited public figure. I say no, but I’m not sure what the court will say. But this is an example of the kind of situation where public figure status is controversial. Sarah Palin is a public figure.

That’s a pretty circular definition. If you didn’t speak or get mentioned in public, who would know about you? It would mean that all libel is held to the Sullivan standard because I spoke at a Kiwanis Club meeting in Bumbleweed, MS, therefore I am a public figure.

If the libel is related to something you said during your speech, yeah, you’re a limited public figure. Note the word “limited”…… they probably won’t be held to an actual malice standard if they mistakenly report that you have amorous relationships with farm animals - but if they claim your speech started a riot, it’s my opinion that they would have to meet the actual malice standard.

Look at all the reporting around leaked political speech, fundraisers at very small venues. Do you think those speakers can avoid “public figure” status because they were speaking to a small group?

The direct answer is, counselor,… yes you are a public figure because you made a speech at the Kiwanis Club in Bumbleweed MS and you are held to the Sullivan standard - but only for libel directly connected to the speech you made.

This is correct. I’m sick; I missed the “limited” qualifier earlier.

That is one of the arguments against Sullivan is that it is too broad. I’m just some dude, nervous for giving my first speech, and millions of readers falsely read that I started a riot. Surely these journalists can tighten things up just a bit in their investigation process before telling lies about such a poor regular bastard from rural MS.