Monday, June 15, 2009

House Seeks to Dampen Libel Tourism

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee last week passed H.R. 2765, designed to lessen the impact of "libel tourism," whereby plaintiffs seek out jurisdictions with harsh defamation laws to file suit against publications they claim impugned their reputations.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Steven Cohen (D-Tenn.), makes it more difficult for foreign libel judgments to be enforced in American courts. In relevant part, Sec. 4102(a) of H.R. 2765 says: "...[A] domestic court shall not recognize or enforce a foreign judgment for defamation whenever the party opposing recognition or enforcement of the judgment claims that the judgment is inconsistent with the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States, unless the domestic court determines that the judgment is consistent with the first amendment...."

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