Tag Archives: state courts

Defamation Suit Against Maxine Waters to Proceed

A California Court of Appeals has ruled that Joe E. Collin III’s defamation suit against Representative Maxine Waters can proceed. The case arises out of the 2020 election when Collins and Waters competed to represent California’s 43rd congressional district. During the election, Waters asserted Collin’s had been dishonorably discharged. Her allegation was based on an inference from a suit he had filed in federal court. Collins, however, proceeded to show her official evidence that his discharge was not dishonorable. Waters remained skeptical given the initial evidence she found and did not investigate further.

The appellate court accepted that Collins was a public figure, but refused to dismiss the case, arguing it was too early to determine that he had no chance to produce clear and convincing evidence of “actual malice.” The driver of the decision:

“Free speech is vital in America, but truth has a place in the public square as well. Reckless disregard for the truth can create liability for defamation. When you face powerful documentary evidence your accusation is false, when checking is easy, and when you skip the checking but keep accusing, a jury could conclude you have crossed the line. It was error to end this suit at this early stage, for Collins established the minimal case needed to defeat Waters’s special motion to strike.”

The court is operating with the following definition of actual malice: “[P]eople speak with actual malice when they know their statements are false, or they recklessly disregard whether their statements might be false. Reckless disregard, in this sense, requires defendant speakers to have a high degree of awareness of probable falsity.” The case is Collins v. Waters. The opinion appears here.

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Breaking–Florida Supreme Court won’t block DeSantis redistricting map

The Florida Supreme Court has declined to block the state’s new congressional map on the ground that it lacks jurisdiction. The congressional map that will go into effect is the one backed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and previously struck down, in part, on the ground that it diminished the voting rights of African Americans. One Justice (LaBarga) wrote a dissent. Axios summarizes the litigation.

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“NC judges won’t block primary election preparation over redistricting cases”

News and Observer

The three-judge panel in North Carolina charged with reviewing the challenge to the state’s new maps refused today to grant a preliminary injunction blocking the congressional and legislative maps approved last month . The decision can and is being appealed. And the case will proceed to the merits. The full article by Brian Murphy is worth the read for a quick take on North Carolina’s precedent on partisan gerrymandering.

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