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Sack on Defamation: Libel, Slander, and Related Problems (Fifth Edition)

Author(s): Hon. Robert D. Sack
Practice Area: Constitutional law, Defamation, First Amendment, Free speech, Libel, Litigation, Slander
Published: Apr 2017
Supplement Date: Apr 2021 i Other versions can be found in the Related Items tab.
ISBN: 9781402428500
PLI Item #: 205417

Written by a U.S. Court of Appeals judge and member of the adjunct faculty of Columbia Law School who practiced media law at the highest level for more than thirty years, Sack on Defamation offers strategic guidance for both plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys, and fully covers the basic elements of a defamation claim, including:

  • The types and amounts of damages that can be awarded
  • The sometimes confusing treatment of libel per se and slander per se
  • Invasion of privacy torts
  • The causes of action for injurious falsehood, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent misstatement, and more 
  • Issues of jurisdiction and motion practice

Sack on Defamation pinpoints practical legal issues vital to your clients, helping you understand when “truth” is not a defense • insults and name-calling cross the line into defamation • accurate repeating of another’s statements can be actionable • “public disclosure of private facts” becomes actionable • statements of “opinion” are not protected • and defamatory communications are privileged. It also integrates coverage of Internet and social media issues.

This treatise provides practice insight into how to:

  • Persuade courts to dismiss complaints or grant summary judgments and how to resist a motion for either
  • Use various kinds of evidence to prove actual malice with “convincing clarity”
  • Meet burdens of proof for various claims and win appropriate damages
  • Deploy the most effective defenses for different causes of action
  • Advise clients on how to disseminate their views without triggering costly lawsuits
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Robert D. Sack has, since August 6, 1998, been a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit with his chambers at 40 Foley Square.  He took senior status on August 6, 2009.  During his 33 years in practice, he specialized in national and international press law.  He was a frequent lecturer and writer on press law topics and is the author of Sack on Defamation:  Libel, Slander, and Related Problems (4th ed. 2010) and coauthor of Advertising and Commercial Speech:  A First Amendment Guide (1999).  His article, Protection of Opinion Under the First Amendment:  Reflections on Alfred Hill, "Defamation and Privacy Under the First Amendment," was published in the 100th Anniversary issue of the Columbia Law Review.  On May 1, 2008, Judge Sack was awarded the Federal Bar Council's Learned Hand Medal for excellence in federal jurisprudence.

Judge Sack was an officer and director of the William F. Kerby and Robert S. Potter Fund, which assisted in funding the legal defense of journalists abroad, and a member of the advisory boards of the Bureau of National Affairs' Media Law Reporter and the ABA Forum Committee's Communications Lawyer.  He is a member of the Board of Visitors of the Columbia Law School, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Columbia University Seminars on Media and Society, and was Chairman of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.  He has since 2001 been a Lecturer in Law and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School.  He was Columbia Law School's commencement speaker in 2007.  He was Adjunct Professor of Political Science and Special Guest Lecturer at the University of Rochester in 2012 and a Distinguished Visiting Jurist at the University of Chicago Law School in 2013.  He is a member of the American Bar Association, the New York City Bar Association (Chair, Communications Law Committee, 1986-89), and the American Judicature Society.  He is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

After graduating from the University of Rochester in 1960 and Columbia Law School in 1963, Judge Sack clerked for United States District Judge Arthur S. Lane, in the District of New Jersey.  He later became an associate and partner at Patterson, Belknap, Webb & Tyler (1964-1986) and a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher (1986-1998), both in New York City.  In 1974, he served as a Senior Associate Special Counsel to the United States House of Representatives Impeachment Inquiry Staff.