Coal CEO’s defamation lawsuit against John Oliver is dismissed
A West Virginia judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by coal giant Murray Energy Corporation and its CEO Robert Murray against Last Week Tonight host John Oliver after the HBO show ran a segment criticizing Murray and the coal industry in general.
In a brief memo filed last week, the judge wrote that he thought lawyers for HBO and Oliver put forth "well-founded" and "appropriate" arguments to dismiss the case. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice, preventing Murray and his company from re-litigating the matter in the same court. Murray Energy confirmed in a Sunday statement that it would appeal the decision to the West Virginia Supreme Court.
In their motion to dismiss, lawyers for HBO wrote, "The fact that Murray found this speech embarrassing or disagreeable does not remove it from the broad protection of the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has stated time and again that the type of speech at issue here—news and commentary about public figures and issues of public importance—‘occupies the highest rung of the hierarchy of First Amendment values, and is entitled to special protection.'"
|Coal CEO’s defamation lawsuit against John Oliver is dismissed
Murray Energy says it will appeal the decision.