Can The 'Gist' Of A Book Be Defamatory, Even If Nothing Is Proven False?
from the chilling-effects dept
With the trial now underway, Main's lawyers are pointing out that the book is "political and social criticism," and that Royall has not proven she got any facts wrong. Royall's response is somewhat stunning. His lawyers seem to be indicating that even if there's nothing factually wrong, the "conclusions" drawn from those facts are defamatory. In other words, there may be nothing wrong with the book, but the analysis of those facts, as a whole, is somehow defamatory. This sounds an awful lot like "well, I don't like what she said, and it makes me look bad -- even if based on fact -- and thus, it must be defamatory."
Once again, this seems like a clear SLAPP situation, where someone didn't like the speech of someone else, and filed a lawsuit. Claiming that the general "gist" of a book is defamatory without being able to show any actually false statements seems like a real stretch on defamation law.