Former legislator loses appeal in defamation lawsuit | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Former legislator loses appeal in defamation lawsuit

Posted By on Wed, May 24, 2017 at 9:59 AM

The Arkansas Court of Appeals today upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by former state Rep. Dan Greenberg against publishers of the Benton Courier over critical editorials written about him during his unsuccessful race for Senate against Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson in 2010.

The lawsuit had been dismissed on summary judgment in Circuit Court. The Court of Appeals upheld that decision.  The court said Greenberg, as a public figure, hadn't demonstrated actual malice toward him by the writer, Kristal Kuykendall. Actual malice is a legal standard that means, among others, reckless disregard for the truth. It also said there was insufficient evidence the statements she made were false and defamatory.

Kuykendall had, in a series of editorials, questioned among others the honesty of his campaign advertising relying on past praise from the newspaper and his use of the same address for legislative and campaign business.  Greenberg was cleared of an ethics complaint about the use of the office.The Court said Kuykendall's conclusion about Greenberg's action was not an assertion of fact, but opinion.

Wrote the court:

Her conclusion is based on her subjective determination from the evidence before her, and her subjective determination is not provable as true or false. 
Full opinion here.

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