One of the popular ending lefty smears is that Sarah Palin’s political map had something to do with a shooting spree by Jared Loughner, a mentally unstable man, which killed a Republican judge and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat.
The New York Times freely repeated this lie even after it had been demonstrated that it was entirely baseless.
Palin sued the Times. And the case came in front of Judge Jed Rakoff, a Clinton appointee and lefty celebrity judge. The sort of judge whose eccentric decisions are cheered and adored by lefties even though they often represent less law than whim.
The lawsuit might be doomed, but Judge Rakoff tried to prematurely protect the New York Times with a bizarre decision in a bizarre process.
A federal pleading needs nothing but “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”…
This was a novel use of Rule 43(c). While courts routinely rely on testimony to decide certain Rule 12 motions, Palin appears to be the first decision to use a Rule 43(c) hearing to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). In so doing, Judge Rakoff arguably ran afoul of Rule 12(d), which states that if “matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the [12(b)(6)] motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.”
Now the Second Circuit has stepped in.
“Nowhere is political journalism so free, so robust, or perhaps so rowdy as in the United States,” Rakoff wrote in the ruling. “In the exercise of that freedom, mistakes will be made, some of which will be hurtful to others.”
However, according to the Second Circuit’s ruling Tuesday, Rakoff’s reliance on any facts outside of Palin’s original complaint was improper and grounds for reinstating Palin’s claim.
“We find that the district court erred in relying on facts outside the pleadings to dismiss the complaint. We further conclude that Palin’s Proposed Amended Complaint plausibly states a claim for defamation and may proceed to full discovery.”
The final outcome will likely be the same, and the second circuit could not have let Rakoff’s decision stand. But it’s still a reminder of how rigged the system is.