From The Columbus Dispatch It’s unusual for a panel of judges to engage in outright advocacy in a ruling.
The Eighth District Ohio Court of Appeals crossed that line last week in urging state lawmakers to pass a law to help preserve freedom of speech and the press in Ohio.
In a ruling against Ohio coal magnate Robert Murray in a defamation suit he filed against a weekly newspaper, the appellate judges upheld the trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the Chagrin Valley Times.
The often-combative Murray, the court agreed, is a public figure and was not defamed by the newspaper’s reporting, a column and an editorial cartoon.
But, the court’s opinion didn’t end there.
The judges suggested that Ohio needs a law that quickly slaps down nuisance lawsuits designed to discourage public or press comment on issues of public concern.
“Given Ohio’s particularly strong desire to protect individual speech, as embodied in its Constitution, Ohio should adopt an anti-SLAPP statute to discourage punitive litigation designed to chill constitutionally protected speech,” the court wrote.