August 06, 2019 Practice Points

Second Circuit Reverses Dismissal of Palin’s Defamation Case Against New York Times

The court asserted that Sarah Palin's only burden at the pleading stage was meeting the plausibility standard of Iqbal and Twombly, not the actual malice burden she will bear at trial.

By Sanford Hausler

The Second Circuit reversed the dismissal of Sarah Palin's defamation case against the New York Times. The Times had criticized Palin and her political action committee for circulating a map that superimposed the image of a crosshairs target over certain Democratic congressional districts (evoking, in the view of many, images of violence), including that of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, who was later shot. The Times linked the map and the shooting, although they retracted this link days later. Palin sued the Times. District Judge Jed Rakoff dismissed the case after an evidentiary hearing. The Second Circuit reversed, asserting that Palin's only burden at the pleading stage was meeting the plausibility standard of Iqbal and Twombly, not the actual malice burden she will bear at trial. The case was remanded for further proceedings.

Sanford Hausler is an appellate attorney with Pollack, Pollack, Isaac & DeCicco, LLP in New York, New York.


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