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Re: Nick Sandmann's defamation case against Washington Post

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You will remember that this young Nazi was caught in a confrontation with an American Indian on the DC mall.  It appears the Washington Post reported the facts in the encounter so Sandmann's parents sued for libel.  I suspect they do not know the meaning of the term and I await giving the Right, yet another, "I told you so". They constantly confuse being able to file a lawsuit with winning one. 

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Nick Sandmann's defamation case against Washington Post

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Oral arguments concerning The Washington Post's motion to dismiss Nick Sandmann's defamation lawsuit will take place July 1, a federal judge ordered Thursday.

 

The Post is contesting a $250 million lawsuit, filed in response to the newspaper's reporting of a January encounter on the National Mall between Covington Catholic students and Native Americans, on several grounds.

 

Sandmann's legal team claims dozens of statements published by The Post are defamatory, while the newspaper's attorneys wrote in a brief filed Tuesday that each of the statements doesn't qualify as defamation because it isn't about Sandmann, it isn't defamatory, it's a statement of opinion or it is substantially true.

 

Nick Sandmann, center left, stands in front of Native American activist Nathan Phillips at a rally in Washington, D.C.

 

Nick Sandmann, center left, stands in front of Native American activist Nathan Phillips at a rally in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Survival Media Agency via AP, Survival Media Agency)

 

Sandmann claimed The Post's published statements imply that he:

  • Assaulted and/or physically intimidated Nathan Phillips, the Native American who stood across from him;
  • Instigated the confrontation with Phillips;
  • Engaged in "racist taunts" or that he violated the standards of his religious community, based on The Post's publishing the Diocese of Covington's statement, according to The Post.

The newspaper's rebuttal states a court cannot inquire into the tenets of a faith or whether Sandmann violated any. Even if a court could make such an inquiry, it would be a matter of opinion, "an opinion, moreover, that was expressed by (Sandmann's) own Diocese." 

 

More: Nick Sandmann of CovCath may face challenges in proving defamation, experts say

Two other claims made by Sandmann are also matters of opinion: whether Sandmann instigated the confrontation and whether he engaged in racist conduct, The Post writes.

 

 

 

Ted Sandmann, father Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann, on why he wants doxing legislation to criminalize revealing a minor's identity online Sam Upshaw Jr., Louisville Courier Journal

 

And none of its articles suggests The Post intended to accuse Sandmann of being a racist, The Post's attorneys write.

 

"If any reader were to come to that assessment, it would be because of the assumptions and ideological predispositions that the reader brought to bear in judging what happened," the attorneys state.

 

The remaining claim, that The Post implied Sandmann assaulted Phillips, is baseless, The Post argues. Citing Washington D.C.'s assault law, The Post writes that its characterization of the impasse between Sandmann and Phillips does not convey criminal behavior.

 

"Standing in another person’s way while smiling insincerely — from a distance of a foot— may be rude, but such behavior is hardly criminal," the attorneys write. 

 

The Post contests Sandmann's lawsuit on another ground. It argues Sandmann claims its reporting implied defamatory meanings. The implication of libel is different than libel per se, or libel that on its face exposes a plaintiff to public disgrace, The Post writes.

 

 

 

Voices from the protest outside Archdiocese of Covington in Kentucky on Jan 22, 2019. Cincinnati Enquirer

 

In this case, The Post writes Kentucky law requires an accusation of implied defamation be accompanied by an allegation of special damages, such as financial harm, which Sandmann failed to do.

 

"Accordingly, his claims must be dismissed to the extent they are based on the articles’ implied meanings," The Post writes.

Sandmann's attorneys, L. Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry, disputed The Post's motion to dismiss in a brief filed last month.

 

Nick's lawyers claim The Post reported some "implied provably false facts."

Oral arguments will take place in the federal courthouse in Covington.

 

CNN, another media company accused of defamation by Sandmann, also filed a motion to dismiss.

 

https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/06/07/oral-arguments-set-washington-post-v-nick-sandmann-...

 

 

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