Defamation Case Studies: Politics

picture of the inside of the capitol building to represent political defamationElsewhere, politicians and powerful people often use defamation claims to silence critics. But political defamation is a lot less common in free-speech loving America. That said, it still happens.

Recently, two political defamation lawsuits hit U.S. headlines. One resulted in a closed door settlement, and the other is just beginning.

Political Defamation of Character Case #1: Blogger Makes Deal with Washington, DC Publicist

FishbowlDC is the TMZ of Washington power jockeying. A company under the WebMediaBrands umbrella, FishbowlDC is an opinionated pundit site with favorites and foes. Unfortunately for her, publicist Wendy Gordon fell into the latter group. Things became legally contentious when FishbowlDC created a weekly column called “Wendy Wednesday”. Gordon says the site used the column to spread “false and humiliating descriptions” of her and her PR tactics. Gordon described it as an “unprovoked, online smear campaign.” So, she filed a defamation lawsuit against WebMediaBrands.

Welp, the case never made it to a jury. As is wont to happen in DC, involved parties struck a behind-closed-doors deal. Gordon filed a dismissal notice at DC Superior Court a few days later. That’s what you call using a lawsuit to get your adversaries attention. Apparently, it worked in this case.

Political Defamation of Character Case #2: Long Island Lawyer Screams Libel Over Campaign Marketing Piece

A defamation showdown involving a Nassau County legislator and his campaign rival is revving up on Long Island. Lisa Daniels, a lawyer with political aspirations, sued Howard Kopel, incumbent representative of the 7th Legislative District, for defamation.

Not-So-Nice Political Mailer Results In Libel Lawsuit

Daniels, who ran against Kopel in a recent election, is suing her opponent over a political mailer. She’s asking for a cool $100 million. What slight of political warfare could be worth $100 million? Well, Daniels is irate over accusations that she displayed “poor judgment” a few years back when acting as counsel in a contentious child custody case. Daniels had become personally involved in the case and temporarily became the child’s guardian. Tragically, after litigation ended, the young boy died after falling out of a bunk-bed.

In her lawsuit, Daniels’ argues that the mailer unfairly draws a parallel between her and the boy’s death.

Kopel Swears He Didn’t Engage in Any Political Defamation

Kopel insists he had nothing to do with the political mailer in question, but he does concede that the race with Daniels “turned very, very nasty.” He didn’t indicate, however, if any PACs paid for the marketing piece.

Do you have a defamation issue? Do you need to speak with a lawyer with an encyclopedic knowledge of defamation law? If yes, contact Aaron Kelly, founding partner of the Kelly Warner Law Firm. He’s a top-rated attorney with rates priced for your budget.

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