US libel turns nasty

You may have heard a lot recently about how lenient the US libel laws are.

Think again.

A US doctor has been awarded $10 million in damages because a Florida paper said he had left his post at a Florida hospital under investigation for illicit activity.
He sued.

The judge said he was a public official so his side had to prove the paper acted with “actual malice”.

The author of the piece is dead now. The judge excluded his notes from the trial.
The doctor won $5 million damages and another $5 million punitive damages for the malice angle.

Ruling the author’s notes out of the evidence seems a bit strong. Is Mr Justice Eady on holiday in Florida and doing a bit of freelance?

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