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LIBERTY LOBBY, INC. v. DOW JONES & CO.

July 10, 1986

LIBERTY LOBBY, INC., Plaintiff,
v.
DOW JONES & COMPANY, INC., et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JACKSON

 JACKSON, J.

 Plaintiff Liberty Lobby, Inc., an organization engaged in the espousal of causes, charges defendant Dow Jones & Company, Inc., publisher of The Wall Street Journal (" The Journal "), with libel. *fn1" Specifically, it alleges that The Journal published two defamatory articles, the first, a 1984 report by co-defendant Rich Jaroslovsky describing Liberty Lobby as "far right . . . [and] anti-Semitic[,]" and the second, a 1985 column by non-defendant Suzanne Garment describing in-court proceedings in an earlier suit by Liberty Lobby against another publication. *fn2" This case is presently before the Court on defendants' post-discovery motion for summary judgment/judgment on the pleadings. The Court finds the case to be governed by both settled law and a trilogy of cases recently decided by the Supreme Court this term and, for the reasons set forth below, will grant defendants' motion in its entirety and dismiss the complaint with prejudice.

 I.

 In September, 1984, The Journal published a news report by Jaroslovsky which formed the initial basis for this action. Appearing under the headline, "Racial Purist Uses Reagan Plug," the article describes how one Roger Pearson allegedly parlayed a letter of commendation from President Reagan to promote his own publications. As part of its exposition of Pearson's past, the story stated:

 
Other Pearson writings appeared in Western Destiny, a magazine published by the far right, anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. Mr. Pearson edited Western Destiny briefly in the mid-1960s and wrote several books on race and eugenics that were issued by Liberty Lobby's publishing arm. These pamphlets are still sold by the National Socialist White People's Party, the Arlington, Va. based American Nazi group; Mr. Pearson says he doesn't have any connection with that group.

 Wall St. J., Sept. 28, 1984, at 56, col. 1. In its "first cause of action" (hereinafter Count I), Liberty Lobby maintains that it never "published" Western Destiny, nor did its avowed "publishing arm" ever "issue" books by Pearson; that none of its publications was ever sold by the National Socialist White People's Party; and that it is not "anti-Semitic," although it is willing to admit to being anti-Zionist.

 Following a change of counsel, Liberty Lobby amended its complaint to assert four additional "causes of action" (hereinafter Counts II-V), each corresponding to an allegedly libelous section of an October, 1985, column by Garment. See Garment, There's Nothing Like a Libel Trial For an Education, Wall St. J., Oct. 11, 1985, at 28, col. 3. *fn3"

 Count II alleges a republication of the defamation asserted in Count I by the following sentence: "Still pending is a Liberty Lobby suit against The Wall Street Journal, which last year called Liberty Lobby 'anti-Semitic' and reported that it had published various tracts by a promoter of racial betterment through genetic selection."

 Count III concerns the following passage in Garment's column:

 
Across the room with Mr. [Willis] Carto [Liberty Lobby's founder and chief executive] were the bearded Mr. [Mark] Lane [attorney for Liberty Lobby] in friendly navy blazer and gray slacks, a young female paralegal with the kind of nose that suggests the presence of a trust fund, and a young, good-looking black female lawyer in a high-collared blouse. The moment the jury filed in - all black, as is not uncommon in the District [of Columbia] - you began to suspect that Mr. Lane might have something in mind.

 Count IV complains of the following:

 
So we see the Liberty Lobby standing up in court and calling Mr. [William F.] Buckley [publisher and editor of The National Review ] racist, most likely calculating that black jurors will be too hypnotized by this possibility to consider other facts important. This is not just an ordinary lawyer's trick. This is breathtaking in its daring. Most of us would be embarrassed to appeal to a racial or religious minority audience so crudely. We know the Fair Play Patrol would ...

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