Raises Concerns for Freedom of Press Advocates that Trump may Sue Them Out of Business
Background: Melania had filed a libel lawsuit in Montgomery, MD County Court against the Daily Mail on September 1, 2016 for $150 Million in Damages
Her claim is that she suffered $150 Million in damages because they had published information about Melania Trump’s modeling career and the then-recent publication of nude photos of her from decades earlier. It also referred to reports in a Slovenian magazine that a modeling firm she worked for was run by someone who also provided escorts.
Maryland Lawsuit Dismissed on February 2, 2017
Melania Trump is prevented from refiling the lawsuit in the State of Maryland
Montgomery County Circuit Judge Sharon Burrell accepted arguments that the Mail’s “Mail Media” U.S. affiliate had too few ties to Maryland to be sued there and there was no indication that production of the offending story had anything to do with the state.
ORDER OF COURT (BURRELL, J.) THAT DEFENDANT MAIL MEDIA INC.’S MOTION TO DISMISS (DE 66) IS GRANTED; THAT THE COMPLAINT AGAINST DEFENDANT MAIL MEDIA IS DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE; HOWEVER THE CLAIMS AGAINST THIS DEFENDANT MAY NOT BE REFILED IN MARYLAND
“The Article was researched, written for and published in a United Kingdom newspaper and published on a general news website that did not focus on Maryland,” Burrell wrote. “The Article was uploaded by MailOne staff in London and MailOne staff in New York posted the article to the U.S. homepage of MailOnline. No reporter traveled to Maryland in the course of reporting, editing or publishing the Article….It would be unreasonable as a matter of constitutional due process for this Court to exert jurisdiction over MMI or MailOnline in the State of Maryland.”
Melania Trump Brought Another Lawsuit Against the Daily Mail in London
Details of the London claim have not yet been made public. British law places a higher burden of proof to make a libel claim, especially for a public figure such as Melania trump. The success of such a case is doubtful.