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CAREY v. HUME

March 21, 1975

Edward L. CAREY, Plaintiff,
v.
Britt HUME et al., Defendants


Corcoran, District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: CORCORAN

CORCORAN, District Judge.

 In this diversity action plaintiff Edward L. Carey sues Britt Hume, Jack Anderson and the Washington Post (the Post) for an alleged libel in an item composed by Britt Hume for the "Washington Merry-Go-Round." The item was published under the by-line of defendant Jack Anderson in the Post and numerous other newspapers throughout the United States.

 The item in its totality reads as follows:

 
Washington Expose
 
Records Stolen? -- With the government digging deeper into the financial affairs of the United Mine Workers, the union's President Tony Boyle and General Counsel Ed Carey spent hours recently going through the records. Later, they were seen removing boxfulls of documents from Boyle's office. Not long afterward, Carey made an official complaint to Washington Police that burglars had struck at union headquarters. Among the goods reported stolen: a boxfull of "miscellaneous items." The Justice Department is investigating.

 Before the Court are motions for summary judgment filed by each of the above-named defendants and the opposition thereto of the plaintiff. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

 I

 At the time of the publication Carey was general counsel to the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and W. A. "Tony" Boyle was its President. It is admitted for purposes of this case that Carey, by reason of his position in UMWA and by reason of other extensive public activity on his part, is a "public figure" within the meaning of New York Times Company v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 84 S. Ct. 710, 11 L. Ed. 2d 686 (1964). *fn1" That case established the principle that for a civil libel plaintiff who is a "public figure" to recover in a libel suit he must show that the statement at issue was published with "actual malice," i.e., "with knowledge that a (defamatory statement) was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not." New York Times v. Sullivan, supra, 376 U.S. at 280, 84 S. Ct. at 726. See also Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts, 388 U.S. 130, 87 S. Ct. 1975, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1094 (1967).

 In this particular case, the defendants, relying upon depositions and affidavits, assert there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and thus as a matter of law they are entitled to summary judgment under New York Times and its progeny. *fn2"

 In particular Hume asserts that he received the published information from a reliable source, that he took all steps reasonable under the circumstances to check the accuracy of that information and that the publication accurately reflects his source's report.

 Anderson asserts that when hired by him, Hume had established a reputation as a reliable reporter and that Anderson had no reason to go behind his story and check it for accuracy of detail.

 The Washington Post, in turn, asserts that its examination of the story revealed no reason to doubt its accuracy, especially since submitted by Hume and Anderson.


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