Ann Rule Awarded Costs in Anti-SLAPP Decision
By TIM HULL
(CN) - Convicted husband-killer Liysa Northon cannot sue true-crime author Ann Rule for defamation over the best-selling author's 2003 book "Heart Full of Lies," the 9th Circuit reaffirmed on Tuesday. Rule will also recoup $21,000 in attorney's fees.
The federal appeals court in Portland, Ore., said an earlier panel from the 9th Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Northon's claims for defamation and false light invasion of privacy against Rule, whose book chronicles Northon's manslaughter conviction in the 2000 shooting death of her husband.
A district court first struck down the claims under Oregon's Anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation law, or anti-SLAPP, which allows for the early dismissal of meritless lawsuits.
"Specifically, plaintiffs failed to show how any statements made in the book might have been defamatory," the panel wrote in an unpublished order filed Tuesday. "During the hearing, plaintiffs offered a generalized argument that the entire book was defamatory and did not provide any citations for false statements. The court properly determined that in evaluating whether plaintiffs have actionable claims for defamation under Oregon law, it must look at each challenged statement, rather than the book as a whole."