Thursday, April 2, 2009

Punishing a True Utterance?

On February 13, 2009, the First Circuit held that Massachusetts law permits liability for defamation, even if the utterance is true, so long as the plaintiff proves actual malice. The case is Noonan v. Staples, Inc., and you can access the opinion here.

This is frightening! Presumably, if a speaker makes undeniably true statements (with reckless disregard for truth) regarding a politician, the statements are potentially libelous in the First Circuit. This clearly chills speech -- including core political speech -- and, in my opinion, is an assault upon our civil liberties.

No comments:

Post a Comment