Paul L. Caron

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Court Rules San Diego's Law Prof's Blog Post Was Not Defamatory

MartinNational Law Journal, Law Prof’s Blog Post Was Not Defamatory, Court Rules:

A San Diego law professor did not defame the plaintiff in a disability-benefits lawsuit when he blogged about her case in 2012, a California appellate court has ruled.

A three-judge panel of the state Fourth District Court of Appeal on April 2 affirmed dismissal of Melanie Welch’s suit against Shaun Martin [right], a professor at the University of San Diego School of Law, dean Stephen Ferruolo and the university itself.

Martin maintains a blog about decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and California appellate courts.

The court found that the information in Martin’s Jan. 31, 2012, post about the court’s decision in Welch’s lawsuit against the California State Teachers’ Retirement System was pulled directly from the ruling or clearly identifiable as his opinion.

“We conclude the trial court correctly found Welch had not shown the minimal merit necessary to avoid having her complaint stricken under the anti-SLAPP statute because the alleged defamatory statements were either protected by the fair and true report privilege and/or were nonactionable statements of opinion rather than statements of fact,” Judge Alex McDonald wrote in an unpublished opinion.

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