Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Online Defamation - Fair Reporting Of Legal Proceedings - Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions - Updated May 13, 2008
Colt v. Freedom Communications Inc.
109 Cal. App. 4th 1551, 1 Cal. Rptr. 3d 245 (Cal. Crt. App., 2003)
Court holds that the under the First Amendment and California Civil Code Section 47(d), a party is permitted to publish a ‘fair and true report’ of legal proceedings without exposure to defamation claims. Such a report, explained the Court, can contain factual errors and still retain the privilege afforded by Cal. Civil Code Section 47(d) provided it captures ‘the substance, the gist, the sting of the libelous charge.’ This privilege applies both the newspaper articles and to articles posted on the internet. Finding that the reports at issue, while containing some factual errors, captured the substance and gist of the legal proceedings on which they reported, the California Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the lower court, which granted defendant newspapers motion to strike plaintiffs’ complaint – which charged defendants with libel as a result of the publication of the articles at issue - under California’s anti-SLAPP statute. In this case, the newspaper article at issue reported on a proceeding commenced by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Said the Court: