This should be fun to watch as it develops.
Posted: 14 February 2011 09:39 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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I wonder if Mr. Breitbart knows that discovery works both ways.  His funding sources will be scrutinized.  I fully expect the list of defendants in this law suit to expand.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/14/shirley-sherrod-sues-andrew-breitbart_n_822704.html

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Posted: 14 February 2011 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Yeah, he’s fucked. By not including the context, either with a brief explanation or text scroll, he opened himself up to slander charges. You’re right, this should be fun to watch.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 09:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Every high ranking politician has a ghost or two in the closet that should never come out.

Both sides are going to lose if this goes to court and discovery becomes evidence.

Just saying.

I have little doubt this will settle out of court.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 10:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Big Star - 14 February 2011 09:53 AM

Every high ranking politician has a ghost or two in the closet that should never come out.

Both sides are going to lose if this goes to court and discovery becomes evidence.

Just saying.

I have little doubt this will settle out of court.

Two things.  First, she was not a “high ranking” politician.  Second, and I’m ashamed to say this for the democratic party’s sake, I suspect this suit will become the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit of this decade.  By that I mean, if there are democratic money bags funding this law suit they will be more interested in discovery of embarrassing details than monetary relief.  Most people don’t know that Paula Jones settled for the identical amount she was offered early into the proceedings.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 02:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Wasn’t she in charge of agriculture at a federal level? I’d say that it is pretty important.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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The entire complaint is massive. It’s over 40 pages.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 02:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Big Star - 14 February 2011 02:02 PM

Wasn’t she in charge of agriculture at a federal level? I’d say that it is pretty important.

Yes and no. She worked for the USDA, but she was the head of rural development in GA.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 02:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Point #6 is bullshit.

She has not had lost employment issues.

The White House offered her a job.

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Posted: 14 February 2011 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Big Star - 14 February 2011 02:02 PM

Wasn’t she in charge of agriculture at a federal level? I’d say that it is pretty important.

How do you define “in charge of agriculture”?  She was the Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  While she may have had some administrative duties, to say she was “in charge” in a policy development sense is a bit of a stretch.

It appears to me that this was an attempt, similar to the ACORN videos to create a false light video of a “black woman” using “reverse discrimination” on a poor “white farmer”.  And were I representing her, i would be hammering home that theme to the jury.  I’d be working hard to find out who the deep pockets are behind Mr. Breitbart.  If turns out that it’s the Koch brothers, I’d be dancing a happy dance over the money i’d be making.

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Posted: 15 February 2011 05:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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Maybe I’m missing something but how is posting a video clip slander?  Yes, he clearly cherry-picked a passage to make her look bad.  But what is the legal basis for this to be slander, especially since she is a public official? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Breitbart - he is a blowhard hypocrit who whines about liberals as if he is being persecuted and then celebrates and does the same things he whines about - but I don’t see how this is a legitimate suit.

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Posted: 15 February 2011 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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It’s slander if untrue or ‘out of context’ information is presented in a public forum and that information causes harm. The only person in the U.S. you can not slander, no matter how hard many try, is the President. That little truism has kept extremists from all walks of life out of jail.

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Posted: 15 February 2011 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Dave - 15 February 2011 05:16 AM

Maybe I’m missing something but how is posting a video clip slander?  Yes, he clearly cherry-picked a passage to make her look bad.  But what is the legal basis for this to be slander, especially since she is a public official? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Breitbart - he is a blowhard hypocrit who whines about liberals as if he is being persecuted and then celebrates and does the same things he whines about - but I don’t see how this is a legitimate suit.

This is normally about a three hour session in Torts class in law school.  But let me try to condense it.  First you have to understand the terminology.

Slander is the spoken word.  Libel is the printed word.  However since broadcast media (radio and television) are equated in first amendment terms with the ‘Press” (newspapers and magazines) material that is broadcast is considered to be libel.  I have not researched how the internet would fall in these terms, however I suspect it would be considered libel as opposed to slander.  Most states have combined the two into a defamation action.

Both slander and libel actions require that the “statements” be false and that they make the target look bad.  Truth is an absolute defense to libel or slander actions.

Let’s suppose that I’m talking to B3 at a bar and during our conversation I say there are photos of Toko spray painting the Harry Carrey statue.  That is slander.  Suppose I then post that statement here on jaythejoke.com.  The statement becomes libel.  Let’s take it a step further, suppose I photoshop a picture that allegedly shows Toko actually spray painting the statue.  It would be defamatory in either situation.

Now you spoke of the woman being a public official.  You have obviously heard some discussion of defamation actions before.  However, the proper phrase is “public figure”.  Where that applies is to the defense of a defamation charge.

The United States Supreme Court has determined there is a level of defense to defamation charges when one is “reporting” on “Public Figures”.  The court has reasoned that those that put themselves in the public light, subject themselves to more scrutiny and give the media more leeway in its reporting.  Being an appointed public official is different than being an elected public official.  In the first the person does not seek public attention for the position.  In the latter the person subjects themselves to public scrutiny.  Where it gets tricky is in the case of a person like Drew Peterson.  The notoriety he incurred when the talk of the circumstances of the deaths of his wives may have made him a public figure.  Once he started going on the Steve Dahl show, and the national morning shows, he put himself into a position of being a public figure.

What they have said is that to sustain a defamation action against an entity, the “public figure” must show the publisher had a “knowledge of falsity” of the statements made or a “disregard for the truth” of the statements made.

Now in this case, Ms. Sherrod is alleging that Breitbart and his co-defendants knowingly and willfully took a statement out of context to make her look bad.  Even though they used her own words, they presented them in a way that made the statements untrue.  It’s similar to TomD’s tag line about capitalization.  Presented one way means one thing, presented the second something completely different.

As a private citizen, Ms. Sherrod will only have to prove the statements presented her in a false light and that she suffered harm from them.  The extent of her harm (as has been pointed out) will be for a jury to decide.  However if she is determined to be a public figure (and we should hope that is not the case) it won’t be hard to prove that Breitbart and his cohorts had a disregard for the truth of the statements the made and edited.  Don’t forget they included their own comments in her speech.

I disagree with Bill’s thoughts that only the president cannot be defamed.  The president can be defamed.  The problem is that if the president (pick any president in our lifetimes) brought an action every time he was defamed, the president would be spending all his time in depositions and not running the country.  Just look at the BS from the Paula Jones case.  That thing lasted two terms and led to an impeachment proceeding and she did’t make one penny more than the original offer made to her.

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Posted: 15 February 2011 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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So why is the federal government - more specifically Obama and the White House - not being sued? The WH pressured her to resign because of the Briebart clip.

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Posted: 15 February 2011 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Big Star - 15 February 2011 09:51 AM

So why is the federal government - more specifically Obama and the White House - not being sued? The WH pressured her to resign because of the Briebart clip.

I’m sure you realize that would be an entirely different cause of action from the defamation in the video clips and posting.  I can’t remember if a reason was given for the request for her resignation.  Unless that reason stated was defamatory, there is no cause of action specifically based upon the clip.  There might be a cause of action for wrongful termination.  However there is no political gain for Ms. Sherrod or the democratic party for filing such a suit.

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Posted: 15 February 2011 11:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Officially she resigned. Even if it was under pressure it would severely limit her legal options.

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