Saturday, May 17, 2014

New York Times v. Sullivan case brief summary

New York Times v. Sullivan case brief summary
§         Facts: Advertisement ran in the NYTs (put in by Committee to Defend Martin Luther King) that claimed that the "southern violators" pressured the protestors at Montgomery State Capitol. State commissioner Sullivan found out about ad Through editorial in Alabama local newspaper. He then got the idea to sue the NYTs and four other
·         Summons was addressed to Alabama state sheriffs to tell the NYTs to appear before court. Sullivan Filed Suit in A.L. Circuit Court of Montgomery
·         Sued for damages suffered to character and reputation, and wants 500,00 dollars in relief. He demanded a jury trial (within Complaint)
·         Affidavit submitted to show the court that they have personal jurisdiction over the defendant
o        Showed that the NYTs had business within A.L. although they are not resident
o        Not only are they doing business in AL, but the defamation action was connected to this business
·         Also that the state Secretary has authority over the defendant, By doing that business within AL they appoint Secretary of State as agent for the corporation, For service of process purpose
·         The Plaintiff also served Don McKee who is a stringer for the NYT, He is a free lancer for NTY, not directly employed but wrote for NTYs at times
o        P wanted to keep it in State court
o        Tactically P also brought suit against four AL ministers to get rid of the diversity jurisdiction claim that the NTYs could have been made
·         NTY filed Motion to Quash Service of Process
o        Claimed that AL Court does not have personal jurisdiction over NYT
o        Claims NYTs does not do business, and Don McKee was not an agent, So Secretary of State and Don McKee should not have been served so ultimately NYTs was never really served properly
§         Issue: the question is whether the NYT by virtue of its business activities in AL maintains sufficient contacts with the state so that suit against it goes with traditional concepts of fairness and due process
§         Holding: trial court said yes, but this was later overturned

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