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Society & Culture
Virtual Legality Episode 499

A Legal Look at Chris Avellone's Libel Suit: No Winners Here

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1m Jun 28, 2021
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Chris Avellone, writer of game series entries like Fallout, Star Wars, and Dying Light 2, has brought a defamation action in California for libel on its face (per se), in response to accusations made against him.

But bringing a defamation claim is fraught with risks, from being forced to pay your opponent's attorney's fees to potentially winding up with an official document expressing its belief in the veracity of the statements made against you, and that risk is made even more tangible if the plaintiff is remotely famous.

This suit is no different. So let's dive in.

For the record, I'm only a public figure...in Virtual Legality.

#Avellone #Libel #Suit


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Discussed in this episode:
"Ending Silence:"
Tweet - June 26, 2021 - Chris Avellone
https://twitter.com/ChrisAvellone/status/1408703025422733315

"It’s Come To This"
Blog Post - June 26, 2021 - Chris Avellone
https://chrisavellone.medium.com/its-come-to-this-chris-avellone-2fe5db836746

Avellone v Barrows
Filed June 16, 2021 (CA Courts)
https://d106vg71wiygj.cloudfront.net/eFileAPIFiling/JTI/2021/06/16/4392539_2021_06_16_22_21_04_942_6/Complaint_async.pdf

California Civil Code - Div 1, Part 2
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displayText.xhtml?division=1.&part=2.&lawCode=CIV

US Constitution
First Amendment
https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/first_amendment

Copp v. Paxton (1996)
CA Courts
https://law.justia.com/cases/california/court-of-appeal/4th/45/829.html

"California Defamation Law"
Digital Media Law Project Webpage
http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/california-defamation-law

"Proving Fault: Actual Malice and Negligence"
Digital Media Law Project Webpage
http://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/proving-fault-actual-malice-and-negligence#publicFigure

"CACI No. 1704. Defamation per se - Essential Factual Elements (Private Figure - Matter of Private Concern)"
Justia Webpage
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1700/1704/

"CACI No. 1700. Defamation per se - Essential Factual Elements (Public Officer/Figure and Limited Public Figure)"
Justia Webpage
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1700/1700/

"CACI No. 1707. Fact Versus Opinion"
Justia Webpage
https://www.justia.com/trials-litigation/docs/caci/1700/1707/

[CA Anti-SLAPP Statute]
California Code, Code of Civil Procedure - CCP 425.16
https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/code-of-civil-procedure/ccp-sect-425-16.html

"Anti-SLAPP Law in California"
Digital Media Law Project Webpage
https://www.dmlp.org/legal-guide/anti-slapp-law-california

[CA SLAPPback Lawsuit Provision]
California Code, Code of Civil Procedure - CCP 425.18
https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=CCP&sectionNum=425.18.

"Johnny Depp loses libel case over Sun 'wife beater' claim"
BBC Website - November 2, 2020
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-54779430


"Virtual Legality" is a continuing series discussing the law, video games, software, and everything digital, hosted by Richard Hoeg, of the Hoeg Law Business Law Firm (Hoeg Law).

CHECK OUT THE REST OF VIRTUAL LEGALITY HERE:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1zDCgJzZUy9YAU61GoW-00K0TJOGnPCo

DISCUSSION IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN THE LEGAL TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS VIDEO SHOULD CONSULT WITH THEIR OWN COUNSEL.


DESIGN WORK
Joe Ellis (Logo Design)
Chris Leroux (Motion Graphics)
For more information: contact Chris at @Chrisleroux on Twitter.

PODCAST VERSIONS ALSO AVAILABLE

Table of Contents

Timecode Title
00:00 Introduction
02:34 Avellone Tells His Side
08:12 The Lawsuit - What is Libel?
11:17 The First Amendment and Public Figures
16:28 CA Elements of Libel (Jury Instructions)
22:43 The Libel Counts (Opinions and Facts)
39:25 CA and SLAPPs
42:54 Conclusion

About Hoeg Law

The Hoeg Law Firm is a business law firm with big law experience and a small firm approach focusing on start-ups, technology, financing, and everything else a business might need.


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