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Why Current Libel Law Doesn't Work and What Judges Can Do About It
Roselle Wissler and Randall P. Bezanson et al.
27 Judges' J. 29 (1988)
Open Access  |  Library Access


The article begins with a discussion of an empirical study that found many pitfalls in media libel litigation. The plaintiff's interest in a finding on the falsity issue is unlikely to be addressed in court, and few libel plaintiffs either clear their reputation or receive financial compensation. The media defendant faces intrusive, expensive discovery and must mount lengthy appeals in order to prevail. The article then describes a voluntary, nonlitigation alternative program that was created to resolve libel disputes outside the courts, and presents a case that illustrates the potential benefits of such an alternative process. Both parties would benefit from a more straightforward and quicker resolution of the dispute, and the judicial system would be well-served by a reduction in judicial resources devoted to media libel suits. The authors propose that judges educate lawyers about the realities of media libel litigation and the existence of an alternative for more efficiently and effectively resolving libel disputes.
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