CNN are purveyors of fake news, which anyone watching the network regularly can see, and it just received devastating news from a federal judge over a defamation lawsuit.
The case stems from Davide Carbone, the chief executive of West Palm Beach, Fla.-based St. Mary’s Medical Center, until CNN ran a damning report about infant mortality rates at the hospital. Carbone would later resign after Anderson Cooper aggressively pursued the story, even showing up at his home for comment, which led to a defamation lawsuit since Carbone accused Cooper and CNN of reporting false statistics.
Now the case is in federal district court CNN is trying to get it dismissed under Georgia’s laws protecting First Amendment activity, but the judge just made a ruling that’s not in their favor. The Hollywood Reporter reports that On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans decided that rather than the plaintiff having to prove probability of them winning the lawsuit, as required by current law, they only have to show that it’s plausible they could win, which means the case is moving to discovery.
More from the Reporter:
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Orinda Evans decided that the plausibility standard under federal rules was what was most important. In coming to the decision, she notes that appellate circuits around the nation have split on the issue. The judge cites a 9th Circuit decision that there’s no conflict between a state’s anti-SLAPP law and federal rules because litigants are free to try both. Evans also nods to 9th Circuit judges like Alex Kozinski who have “challenged the wisdom of the 9th Circuit’s continued tolerance for anti-SLAPP statutes.”
Ultimately, she likes what D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh has to say.
“He agrees with this Court that the two are in conflict and cannot co-exist,” writes Evans. “As in D.C., here, the Georgia anti-SLAPP statute impermissibly ‘set[s] up an additional hurdle a plaintiff must jump over to get to trial’ in federal court.”
So she effectively renders Georgia’s free-speech protection statute toothless.
As for the rest of the opinion, which weighs the plausibility of Carbone’s claims, Evans feels there’s enough to move it forward. The plaintiff is disputing how CNN arrived at its infant mortality rate statistic. Carbone alleges that it should have been risk-adjusted, that CNN was doing an “apples-to-oranges comparison” when comparing St. Mary’s Medical Center to the national average.
Ultimately, the case could land in the Supreme Court, where it would then be decided if news networks could be sued for defamatory reports against individuals. With so many networks reporting demonstrably false information, this could be exactly what’s needed to make the fourth estate honest once again.