March 18, 2009

Truth with consequences?

In Noonan v. Staples, the U. S. First Circuit Court of Appeals today denied Staples' request for rehearing en banc. The court also stated that there is no need to certify the question at issue to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

Last month the court issued a controversial opinion in which the court held that, based upon an anachronistic Massachusetts statute, G. L. c. 231, sec. 92, a private figure plaintiff may recover for defamation based on truthful statements--yes, you read that correctly, truthful statements--made with "actual malevolent intent or ill will," as long as the subject statements relate to matters of purely private concern.

The case will now return to the trial court. Stay tuned.

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