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All three Nicholas Sandmann lawsuits to go forward — WaPo, CNN, NBC

All three Nicholas Sandmann lawsuits to go forward — WaPo, CNN, NBC

“statements that plaintiff ‘blocked’ Phillips or did not allow him to retreat, if false, meet the test of being libelous per se”

On October 28, 2019, we reported on a stunning development in Nicholas Sandmann’s previously dismissed lawsuit against The Washington Post, Judge Reopens Nicholas Sandmann lawsuit against Washington Post.

See that post for background on the case, and the judge’s ruling. I noted:

While on the surface a relatively narrow ruling, reopening only a limited number of factual claims, it is in fact a big win for Sandmann. His attorneys now get to take discovery on the WaPo process that went into the story. That inquiry will not be limited to the three factual statements, because the process by which those statements made it into the WaPo reporting is the same process by which all the dismissed statements were reported. The entire process will be subject to depositions and document discovery. Sandmann’s attorneys likely will find facts to bolster a number of their claims, so expect a Second Amended Complaint with the results of the discovery process.

The same judge has ruled in similar cases against CNN and NBC, and allows the cases to move forward on the same basis as the WaPo case. (Click for pdfs. the CNN Order and NBC Order.)

As to CNN, the Court ruled:

As in the Washington Post case, the Court believes that discovery is necessary to determine what happened in the unfortunate events which give rise to this litigation, and, to determine whether defendant accurately reported them, and, if it failed to do so, whether the failure was due to negligence or malice. Naturally, following a sufficient period for discovery, these issues will again be reviewed at the summary judgment phase under a more stringent standard.

As to NBC, the Court ruled:

Therefore, as in the two related cases, the Court finds that the statements that plaintiff “blocked” Phillips or did not allow him to retreat, if false, meet the test of being libelous per se under the definition quoted above.

As can be seen, in all three cases the only surviving claim is as to the allegation that Sandmann blocked Phillips. That’s a narrow issue on the surface, but it’s an issue Sandmann’s lawyers could drive a truck through because they get discovery of the entire news process that led up to the reporting — and who knows what they might find that would allow for trying to reinstate the other claims.

Sandmann’s lawyer, Lin Wood, touted the rulings on Twitter:


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Mr.Justice Milhouse is wrong on the law again. Falsely accusing someone of a crime is per se defamatory in almost every state. Detaining someone by intentionally blocking them is a Crime.

Do I hear settlements ringing, or will the networks go full Oberlin?

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to rabid wombat. | November 22, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    Oberlin. The propaganda organs of state power could not afford the reputational loss at this critical time in the coup and they hope to outwait or harass Sandmann so he gives up.

    Subotai Bahadur

      Unlike the Oberlin case, Sandmann is not critically ill nor old. Even if this takes ten years, he will still be a young man. I’m expecting his case to become stronger and stronger. Lin Wood is one hell of a lawyer.

    Morning Sunshine in reply to rabid wombat. | November 22, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    and might I just add, I love the new phrasing “do a full Oberlin”

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Morning Sunshine. | November 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

      Is that like doing the Full Monty?

      Oh and all of this has got me to wondering if
      Nathan Phillips just might be a lot more like Lizzie Warren than Sitting Bull…..

      You know, like Canada’s great fake along the lines of Lizzie,
      Grey Owl.

      “Archibald Belaney (September 18, 1888 – April 13, 1938), commonly known as Grey Owl was a British-born conservationist, fur trapper, and writer who pretended to be a First Nations person. While he achieved fame as a conservationist during his life, after his death the revelation that he was not Indigenous, along with other autobiographical fabrications, negatively affected his reputation.

      Belaney rose to prominence as a notable author and lecturer, primarily on environmental issues.[1] In working with the National Parks Branch, Grey Owl became the subject of many films, and was established as the “‘caretaker of park animals’ at Riding Mountain National Park in Manitoba” in 1931.[2] Together with his numerous articles, books, films and lectures, his views on conservation reached audiences beyond the borders of Canada. His conservation views largely focused on humans’ negative impact on nature through their commodification of nature’s resources for profits, and a need for humans to develop a respect for the natural world.[3]

      Recognition of Belaney has included biographies, a historic plaque at his birthplace, and a 1999 biopic about his life by the director Richard Attenborough.[4] …..”

    I would have really enjoyed seeing the fruits of discovery but I have no doubt that these media sleazes made settlement offers 30 seconds after the ruling. I can only hope that cheapness and stupidity cause their negotiations to fail so the suits go forward.

      Valerie in reply to Concise. | November 23, 2019 at 5:27 pm

      That is what a reasonable business, whose purpose is to make money, would do. I no longer something so innocuous as making money is their purpose, any longer.

        Valerie in reply to Valerie. | November 23, 2019 at 5:27 pm

        “no longer think…”

        would love an edit button.

          Concise in reply to Valerie. | November 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm

          I don’t really disagree with your view of the media. But in their case it’s not just the cost of the suit that would concern them. They really don’t want to have the light of day cast upon the sleazy and corrupt way they do business, which might expose, shall we say “collusion,” with prominent democrats. If not that, their biases would undoubtedly be exposed. They can’t have that.

A positive development. The warlock judges (“press”) are on notice. Diversity breeds adversity, which should be mitigated before it has an opportunity to progress.

The key value to those rulings is that they allow discovery to go ahead. Let’s hope the plaintiffs can dig out the behind-the-scenes communication that caused the MSM to jump on the story to begin with.

God! This wonderful news! Devin Nunes is also suing cnn and the daily beast for wrongful reporting deliberately. Something has to be done to make the msm take responsibility for the crap they have been pulling the last three years. Without restrictions on the fake news that is now their trademark, they can have a much greater impact than ever before on our national elections. Forget the Russians! It is the msm that is illegally influencing our elections.

The big question: was Phillips on his way to the dentist when little Nick purportedly falsely imprisoned him?

Similar to Oberlin, I hope the damages go into the punitive zone so insurance won’t cover.

Hope the kid ends up owning all 3 of the fake news organizations.

When discovery is granted, Nicholas’ lawyer should have vans carrying loudspeakers parked in front of CNN’s, ABC’s, CBS’s, and NBC’s offices, blaring out Metallica’s, “Enter Sandman”.

I am all for a free press, but for far too long they have hidden behind protections which allow them to lie for their propaganda appeal and to push narratives.
I think this is a good start.
The media is protected against telling lies about public figures, and through their reporting they make private citizens into public figures, so they self-immune through their reporting. Though it isn’t really reporting.
The laws regulating the media need to change. They need to be held accountable for egregious lies and distortions, while at the same time have some protection against frivolous legal actions against them.
I think of the lies and distortions they regularly do against Trump and most Presidents, though on one side of the aisle they distort to cover and prop up while the other they do all they can to tear down. It seems to me propaganda should offer no protections. While bias always comes into play with any discernment we make, it should not be as over the top obvious as it is now. The media views themselves as elite who shape the world. While they can influence the world through reporting, it is meant to be that they do so by shining a light on things, not creating narratives for political agenda. When they venture down that rabbit hole they are propagandists, not reporters or “journalists”.
Hiding behind protections they are a major part of the unrest we have today in this country. Why should they get off scott free with inciting unrest for false claims and narratives?
I hope the media pays this young man a lot of money, and that this might be a spark toward legislation that addresses the excesses the media is in today.
We need to have an informed population, but disinformation is no better than an uninformed population.

Soros is without a doubt self-insured, so it’s not a matter of coverage.

“Bang the drum slowly…”
When the can of worms opens exposing a snake pit.

We will just see that “We’re all BuzzFeed now”.

Nice of the news companies to foot the bill for his college tuition, room and board. Timing should be just about right.