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Loeb v. Globe Newspaper Co.

489 F. Supp. 481 (1980)

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Loeb v. Globe Newspaper Co.

United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

489 F. Supp. 481 (1980)

Facts

Twenty-eight employees of the Manchester Union Leader, a daily newspaper, sued the Boston Globe (defendant), another daily newspaper, for libel in three actions. The actions were brought by the Union Leader’s publisher, William Loeb (plaintiff); three editors, including James Bucknam (plaintiffs); and 24 other employees consisting of office boys, reporters, and assistant editors, including James Adams (plaintiffs). The Union Leader’s editors and staff members complained that the Globe published three editorial pieces stating the Union Leader was “the worst newspaper in America” and that its publisher ran “a newspaper by paranoids for paranoids.” Loeb complained that the Globe stated he was fined $3 million in a prior legal action, he “edited his paper like a 19th Century yellow journal,” his views were “venomous,” and the Union Leader was a daily drip of venom. Loeb also complained that a Globe cartoon depicted him as a cuckoo clock. In all three cases, the plaintiffs claimed the Globe’s publications were false and derogatory, causing professional and social harm. The plaintiffs claimed the Globe made statements that maligned and defamed—or libeled—them. The Globe filed motions for summary judgment in all three cases, arguing its editorials were not sufficiently specific in referencing the plaintiffs. In Adams, the employees alleged the Globe’s libel was directed at the Union Leader’s editorial management and staff, of which they claimed to be members.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Zobel, J.)

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