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Mann v. Abel

Close Date: 02/23/2009
Status: closed
Docket: 08-595


First Amendment: Libel

Monroe Mann brought a libel suit against a local newspaper and its editors after it criticized him in an editorial. A jury found the newspaper liable and awarded damages to Mann. The intermediate appellate court affirmed, but the New York Court of Appeals reversed, reasoning that under New York state constitutional law, the speech was protected. Mann argues that the Court of Appeals improperly applied federal constitutional First Amendment law, and the newspaper argues that there is no federal issue in dispute: The Court of Appeals based its decision only on state free speech jurisprudence, which is explicitly more protective of speech than federal First Amendment law.

Paul Levy of Public Citizen assisted the respondent at the cert stage, and the Supreme Court denied cert.