So we’re back. It’s been several weeks without any posts. Maybe you missed us. But, our absence in the blogosphere did make our clients happy. In the balancing act of the practice of law the blogging and marketing lost out to the actual work. Go figure! In any case, we are back. And none too soon….
THE DONALD LOSES LIBEL LAWSUIT
Trump filed suit for $5 billion against Timothy O’Brien, author of the book Trumpnation: The Art of Being The Donald. In the book, O’Brien describes Trumps net worth being between $150 – $250 million. In reality, Trump isn’t a millionaire. He’s a billionaire.
Last week the New Jersey appeal court affirmed a lower courts decision that there was no actual malice on the part of the author in his claims, especially as Mr. O’Brien sited three sources in his book.
In establishing libel against a “public figure” the USSC has clearly stated that any libel must be malicious in order to constitute grounds for damages. This is a higher standard than most libel cases, where malice isn’t a requirement, but if established would potentially result in the grant of general damages. The theory behind this distinction is that there is a constitutional imperative to uphold the press’ right to express opinions or fair comment where public figures are involved.
According to the court’s decision:
“There were no significant inconsistencies in the information provided by the confidential sources, nor was there reliable information that contradicted their reports, so as to provide evidence of actual malice. Nothing suggests that O’Brien was subjectively aware of the falsity of his source’s figures or that he had actual doubts as to the information’s accuracy.” (emphasis added)
So, for now, the information is out there and in some circles The Donald will be thought of as merely a millionaire.
Zoe Kevork, Principal Attorney.