Analysis

5th Circ. Free Speech Ruling Unnerves Media Lawyers

Law360, Dallas (August 16, 2017, 9:48 PM EDT) -- A Fifth Circuit decision Tuesday against The New York Times has cast doubt on whether state free speech statutes apply in federal court, stirring concern among media lawyers that defendants in defamation litigation and similar suits would be put at a disadvantage and could face forum-shopping if the circuit doesn't enforce the state laws.

A panel of the court revived a defamation suit brought against the newspaper by Loyola University professor Walter Block, who claimed he was quoted in a way that made it sound like he was defending slavery. Crucially, the panel said in its per curiam decision that "the applicability of...

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