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Friday, December 18, 2015

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today [Updated]

In Kevin McCarthy v. Patricia Fuller (SD Ind., Lawrence), a 20-page opinion, including Judge Sykes' concurring opinion beginning on p. 15, Judge Posner writes:

To conclude, we affirm the entire judgment except the injunction, which we vacate, leaving it to the district judge to decide in the first instance whether to issue a new injunction, one consistent with the criticisms in this opinion of the injunction he issued.

SYKES, Circuit Judge, concurring. The only serious issue remaining in this long-running case is the propriety of the permanent injunction entered by the district court as an additional form of relief on the jury’s verdict, which found the defendants liable for defamation and awarded damages. The in-junction is deeply flawed for all the reasons described by my colleagues: (1) the jury was not asked to identify which of nine possible statements were false and defamatory, so we have no findings to support the specificity requirement for a proper injunction, see FED. R. CIV. P. 65(d)(1); (2) the enjoined statements do not even correspond to the statements the plaintiffs claimed were defamatory; and (3) the injunction is hopelessly vague and overbroad. It plainly cannot stand.

Unlike my colleagues, however, I would not give the judge an opportunity to correct these errors and try to fashion a narrower injunction on remand. * * *

Accordingly, I join the court’s opinion affirming on all is-sues except the injunction. I also join the decision to vacate the injunction. But my agreement stops there. I would remand with narrower instructions: The district court should simply issue an amended judgment without the flawed injunction.

[Updated 12-21-15] Eugene Volokh has a blog post today on Friday's decision, headed "Seventh Circuit strikes down overbroad injunction against libel." It begins:

Last Friday, the Seventh Circuit handed down an interesting opinion about libel injunctions in McCarthy v. Fuller. It’s not a novel ruling — indeed, it fits very well with the precedents — but it may still be helpful to future litigants and courts.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 18, 2015 10:38 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions