The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Free Speech

Judge Rakoff Declines to Reconsider Judgment Against Sarah Palin in Her Suit Against N.Y. Times


I'm on the run and can't discuss this in detail, but I thought that I'd link to it (Palin v. N.Y. Times Co.) and excerpt the opening:

Now before the Court is plaintiff Sarah Palin's post-trial motion. She first seeks the Court's retroactive disqualification, arguing that various aspects of the Court's management of her libel trial suggest bias against her. In the alternative, she seeks either a new trial or reconsideration of the Court's prior ruling that entered final judgment in favor of defendants The New York Times Company and James Bennet based on their motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 50 for judgment as a matter of law. Because Palin's instant motion is wholly lacking in merit, the Court denies it in full.

Whatever she may have claimed in her complaint and pre-trial submissions, Palin was unable to deliver at trial admissible evidence that remotely supported her claim that she was intentionally or recklessly defamed by the defendants. As the Court clearly explained at some length in its Rule 50 Opinion dated March 1, 2022, which is re-adopted here by reference, Palin wholly failed to establish several essential elements of her claim.

Among other things, in the end she offered no affirmative evidence that Bennet or others who worked on the Editorial that is the subject of her claim knew or suspected before publication that the Challenged Statements, which linked Palin's Crosshairs Map to the Arizona shootings of Representative Gabby Giffords and others, were false. Indeed, none of the sources or research upon which the Editorial Board relied to draft, revise, and publish the July 14, 2017 Editorial expressly denied Bennet's inference that Palin's Crosshairs Map had played a causal role in the Arizona shooting. And when cautionary information was brought to defendants' attention, the Times promptly retracted the Challenged Statements. No reasonable juror could therefore have found by clear and convincing evidence that Bennet and the Times published the Challenged Statements with actual malice.