Brandon Darby v. The New York Times and James C. McKinley

Successfully defended the appeal of a defamation summary judgment ruling in our clients’ favor after plaintiff, a former activist and FBI informant, sued our clients, The New York Times and one of its reporters, for $187 million dollars for an article written about an arson at the Texas Governor’s Mansion that mentioned the plaintiff’s relationship, as an FBI undercover informant, to two activists who were convicted for their actions at the 2008 Republican National Convention. We filed a motion for summary judgment asserting the statements made were not capable of a defamatory meaning, were true or substantially true, and privileged and that plaintiff was a public figure and could not establish actual malice. After a hearing on our motion for summary judgment, and before any depositions had been taken, the court granted defendants’ motion and dismissed the case in its entirety. The plaintiff appealed and the Court of Appeals for the Seventh District of Texas at Amarillo affirmed on the grounds of actual malice. Plaintiff filed a petition for review and after asking for briefing on the merits, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petition for review and a motion for rehearing.