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Condit Libel Suit Backfires

Remember Gary Condit?

In July 2005, the Sonoran News published an article about Darrell Wayne Condit. One line of the article stated, “Condit, whose real name is Darrell Wayne Condit, is the younger brother of former Democratic Congressman Gary Condit, who became the main focus of the Chandra Levy case in 2001, after lying to investigators about his affair with Levy.” (source)

An Arizona Superior Court Judge just found that the suit was so baseless that Condit has to pay the Sonoran News’ defense costs in full. In so ordering, the court held:

An objective standard is used to determine whether a claim is groundless. A subjective standard is used to determine whether the claim constitutes harassment and is not made in good faith. If a reasonable attorney should have known that a claim was frivolous, the claim is objectively groundless. If the litigant was aware that the claim or pleading should not have been
brought, the claim constitutes harassment and is not brought in good faith. Gilbert v. Board of Medical Examiners, 155 Ariz. 169, 745 P.2d 617 (App. 1987).

An attorney has an obligation to reevaluate his position in bringing a case if he becomes aware during the course of litigation that the claim is groundless. Standage v. Jaburg & Wilk, P.C., 177 Ariz. 221, 866 P.2d 889 (App.1994).

Most states have similar provisions – and it is always good to see a judge actually have the courage to slam a frivolous plaintiff — especially when the baseless claim has a strong likelihood of negatively affecting First Amendment protected rights.

HT to On Point News

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