Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oprah Winfrey will have to defend herself in court this time!


According to an AP story by Maryclaire Dare, republished March 17 by MSNBC, Oprah Winfrey will have to defend a defamation lawsuit brought against her by the former headmistress of her girls’ school in South Africa. A judge (in a long opinion) in Philadelphia ruled Tuesday that the trail must go forward and that there was reasonable cause to believe defamation had occurred. The link is here. She must appear in court in Philadelphia March 29.

According to the Media Bloggers Association, there was an original complaint against the Huffington Post and a couple of other parties, story (“MBA counsel assists in resolution of "Oprah headmistress" lawsuit against bloggers”) here. This was resolved out of court without money payment.

In 1996, Oprah had been sued by the Texas Cattleman’s Association for a comment she made about beef and mad cow, and defended herself successfully, invoking free speech and that she was merely stating an opinion (the so-called “Opinion Rule”). That suit was considered a “SLAPP” suit. The 1998 story (“Free Speech Rocks”) is (web url) here.

Picture: from the Washington DC health care rally March 9

Note: On Sat. March 20, CNN legal analysts (Richard Herman) said that Oprah will win easily in court this time, just as she did with the Texas case. Free speech does rock, and so does The Opinion Rule.

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