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Neely v. Wilson and the Third-Party Allegation Rule

For the past two decades since the Texas Supreme Court's decision in McIlvain v. Jacobs, 794 S.W.2d 14, 16 (Tex. 1990), Texas appellate courts and the Fifth Circuit have repeatedly held that journalists are insulated from liability for defamation when reporting the allegations of third parties as long as those allegations are reported accurately (even if the allegations themselves later turn out to be false). But in a divided decision last Friday concerning the so-called "third-party allegation rule," the Texas Supreme Court reversed a lower court summary judgment in favor of a broadcaster, holding that McIlvain did not insulate news media defendants from application of the traditional common law "republication rule" which holds liable anyone who republishes false and defamatory statements made by third parties.

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Jul 01, 2013
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