Connecticut Paper Beats Libel Rap p.42

By: Editorial Staff A judge ruled that a newspaper was exercising its First Amendment right in publishing an opinion column criticizing an auditor for a Connecticut city ? and the paper.
Northeast Financial Management Associates and its partner, James R. Crozier, sued the Record-Journal of Meriden and editor and publisher Eliot C. White over a negative column he wrote.
The company, which audits personal property for the city of Meriden, audited the Record-Journal Publishing Co. among 400 randomly selected businesses in 1995. The newspaper reported in articles that many businesses opposed the audits and found Northeast difficult. White's May 14, 1995 piece called Northeast and Crozier "capricious, unprofessional, anti-business, unfair and abusive." White refused to retract, and Crozier refused to pen a response. His suit characterized the column as a "self-serving attack upon a lawful process."
Judge Patty Jenkins Pittman ruled that a 1982 state Supreme Court case differentiated between factual statements and opinion, and cited the U.S. Supreme Court's 1964 Times vs. Sullivan decision.

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?(copyright: Editor & Publisher April 18, 1998) [Caption]


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