March 29, 2022

JOHN HINDERAKER: How to Respond if You are Libeled.

Jeff Van Nest, who has a spotless reputation, was unused to being libeled in the press. So he retained the Upper Midwest Law Center to represent him. His lawyer demanded that the Post Bulletin immediately retract their defamatory articles, on the front page of the paper where the first article appeared.

I think the newspaper’s editor realized that his company had no defense, that there was ample evidence of actual malice, and that a jury verdict for punitive damages could put the paper out of business. (Newspapers often carry insurance coverage against defamation claims, but such insurance does not cover punitive damages, which are recoverable on a showing of actual malice, i.e. reckless disregard of the truth.) In any event, he did the right thing: the paper published a full and unequivocal retraction of the defamatory articles on its front page. This is an image of the page containing the retraction.

Punch back twice as hard.

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