Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Saturday, June 14, 2008

SBNP Likely to Lose Paterno Case

Calling the Susan Paterno Libel case ironic, a judge dismissed a key element of the SBNP Case against the American Journalism Review reporter yesterday. Here's how Craig Smith describes the case:

In order to meet its burden of demonstrating that it would prevail on the libel claim, Ampersand sought to take testimony from Paterno and her editorial assistant and to obtain any documents "reflecting, relating or referring" to their preparation of the article. Ampersand also sought documents from the American Journalism Review relating to the article. Ampersand claimed this discovery was necessary to show Paterno's subjective state of mind regarding the truth or falsity of her statements.

According to Smith, the case will now go back to trial where a Judge would have to reverse the claim against Paterno and very likely dismiss the News-Press claim.

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Anonymous an empress without clothes said...

“Ironic” may be a nice way of saying “crazy”.

McCaw doesn't appear to have the people skills to actually run a daily newspaper business, although she doesn't mind blowing millions on lawyers tilting at windmills.

McCaw needs to listen, really listen, to an honest assessment of her situation from respected leaders not riding her gravy train.

The Mess continues.

6/14/2008 8:10 AM  
Anonymous The Toast of the Town said...

Sara, a three-judge appellate panel essentially put a stop to the few pieces of trivia Ampersand had left. The trial judge tossed 29 out of 32 claims, but said that Ampersand could pursue, at least with discovery, the remaining three. Now, this appellate panel has tossed the remaining three claims. There is little choice for the trial judge but to dismiss those three along with the other 29, toss out the entire case, and order Ampersand to pay Paterno's legal bill. What the Court found ironic was that a newspaper was arguing against a law enacted for its benefit. Ampersand also wanted the court to second-guess not the accuracy of the facts reported in Paterno's story, but the perspective -- admittedly critical of News-Press management -- Paterno took. So, in essence, according to Wendy and her lawyers, if you are critical of Wendy, you are guilty of libel, period. This has been her m.o. from the get-go: I am the victim, I am perfect and therefore immune from criticism; everyone who criticizes me is not just wrong, but owes me money because they have committed a civil wrong against me, and I get to continue to trash my foes with my paper and lawyers, all the while pretending to want to stamp out bias in my paper.

6/14/2008 11:28 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

A much better synopsis than I could create -- thanks!

6/15/2008 4:47 AM  
Anonymous Mr. Moreno said...

I just read the appellate ruling and it's obvious that Wendy never had a chance. In fact, the ruling so demolished Ampersand's arguments that you have to wonder if Wendy's lawyers even bothered to research the relevant case law. "Incompetent" only begins to describe their work.

Really, though, it should come as no surprise. Wendy's suit was fatally flawed from the beginning, and Paterno's anti-SLAPP motion skillfully eviscerated any legal claim McCaw had.

I wish I could be there to see Wendy write that very large check to Paterno's legal team.

6/15/2008 10:31 AM  
Anonymous T of the T said...

Mr. Moreno, I agree, but the point for McCaw -- regardless of whether her lawyers dared to tell her (yuck) she had no clothes (i.e., no case) -- is not whether she wins or loses or whether her lawyers can even maintain an argument consistent with their ethical duties -- but whether she can find and pay lawyers who will make a straight-faced argument in court, which in turn intimidates others who might have dared to criticize or defy her. So, to Wendy McCaw, the hundreds of thousands of dollars she's spent on her lawyers and presumably now on Paterno's will be considered worthwhile if it silences others who would otherwise speak out against her. OTOH, this result ought to put the final nail in the coffin of any lawsuit McCaw may have been dredging up against the makers of and participants in "Citizen McCaw".

If this case had come out Wendy's way, it would have meant that not only does she get to shout her scurrilous nonsense from atop De La Guerra Plaza, but she also gets to control what others say about her. How scary is that?

6/15/2008 5:51 PM  
Anonymous the first thing we do ... said...

I've lost count...anyone know how many lawsuits in how many different courts Wendy has pending these days?

6/15/2008 9:43 PM  

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