Sarah Palin Defamation Suit Against New York Times Resurrected by Appeals Court

The suit was previously dismissed in 2017 by U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff

Last Updated: August 6, 2019 @ 8:30 AM

A defamation lawsuit filed by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin against The New York Times was reinstated on Tuesday by a federal court in Manhattan.

It was previously dismissed in 2017 by U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff.

“We find that the district court erred in relying on facts outside the pleadings to dismiss the complaint. We further conclude that Palin’s Proposed Amended Complaint plausibly states a claim for defamation and may proceed to full discovery,” the Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote on Tuesday.

Per the Court, “This case is ultimately about the First Amendment, but the subject matter implicated in this appeal is far less dramatic: rules of procedure and pleading standards. Sarah Palin appeals the dismissal of her defamation complaint against The New York Times(“the Times”) for failure to state a claim. The district court (Rakoff, J.), uncertain as to whether Palin’s complaint plausibly alleged all of the required elements of her defamation claim, held an evidentiary hearing to test the sufficiency of Palin’s pleadings. Following the hearing, and without converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment, the district court relied on evidence adduced at that hearing to dismiss Palin’s complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).”

When Rakoff dismissed the suit in 2017, he wrote in his ruling that Palin did not demonstrate that the Times showed actual malice against her when publishing an editorial that mistakenly connected one of her political action committees to the 2011 shooting that wounded then-Arizona Congressman Gabrielle Giffords. The Times later added a correction to the editorial.

The former running mate of GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain filed the defamation lawsuit earlier in 2017, saying the paper falsely accused her of inciting the near-fatal shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

A New York Times spokesperson told TheWrap, “We are disappointed in the decision and intend to continue to defend the action vigorously.”

A representative from the Palin team didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.