Answering the open question of whether pre-litigation communications by attorneys are entitled to the same absolute privilege from defamation claims as litigation communications, the Court of Appeals has just held that they are protected by a qualified privilege instead. A qualified privilege can be lost by proof that the defendant attorney acted out of malice. Specifically, in this context, the Court held in Front, Inc. v. Khalil that "the privilege is lost where a defendant proves that the statements were not pertinent to a good-faith anticipated litigation."
Is Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore out of touch with reality? How can a State Supreme Court Judge defy the ruling of a United States District Court? Because he feels he can. Remember Little Rock, Arkansas in 1954 and the marchers in the streets chanting, "2, 4, 6, 8 We don't want to integrate." Remember Governor George Wallace blocking black children from entering schools. The battle between Federalism and States' Rights continues to this day. Think of Obamacare. Think of Gay and Lesbian Rights. Think of Civil Rights. Generally, the Federal Courts prevail. However, State Courts have plenty of power. They make the common law which Federal Courts must follow. State courts can also grant greater rights under State Constitutions to criminal defendants than they have under the United States Constitution.
In a case of first impression, on April 15, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will hear the case of Ahmad v Foundation for International Research and Education, DBA Christian Friends of Israeli Communities, where 13 residents of the West Bank (two of which are also United States citizens) are suing 5 U.S. charities for supporting violent fringe settler groups in the West Bank and Jerusalem who attack Palestinians and non-Jews. The case raises two issues of first impression: (1) It is the first lawsuit by U.S. citizens living in the West Bank against U.S. charities under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA); and (2) It addresses the question left open in Presbyterian Church Of Sudan v. Talisman Energy, Inc., 582 F.3d 244, 259 (2d Cir. 2009) as to whether these particular U.S. charities have a "shared purpose" with particular violent settler groups in fringe areas of Nablus and Hebron in the West bank and in East Jerusalem to drive out Palestinians and non-Jews in violation of international law which, if proven, supports jurisdiction and liability under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).
A New York State Trial Court Judge granted a default judgment in a libel case after allowing the plaintiff to serve his lawsuit on the defendant on the website where the anonymous libel occurred.