The National Enquirer
“The National Enquirer” is a national celebrity magazine, based in Florida and it publishes national weekly newspaper whose total circulation exceeds five millions. Most of these copies are principally sold in the State of California; more specifically, almost six hundred thousand copies. After its foundation in 1926, this magazine has experienced a number of transformations and of late it is well known throughout America for its exaggerations and fabrication of information. This magazine features articles on gossips, news about celebrities and crime with the aim of making more sales of its newspapers (Daily News, 2010).
In this case, the petitioners authored and edited an article that contained libelous material about the respondent. “The National Enquirer”, a national magazine having its largest circulation in California where the respondent, an actress, Shirley Jones, resided and worked gave allegations that Jones was an alcoholic. Jones filed a lawsuit in California State court against “The National Enquirer”, the Defendant, for invasion of privacy, libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), although it had wrote the article and edited it in Florida. Jones’ assertion was that the state court had jurisdiction whose basis was on the outsized circulation of The National Enquirer” enjoyed in California.
The defendant had no objection to the California jurisdiction but made attempts to get out of the suit by challenging the court’s jurisdiction to try the lawsuit . The reason behind this attempt was, in the defendant’s view, that the California State Court did not have any personal jurisdiction over South, the author and Calder, editor-in-Chief of the magazine that contained the libelous article. Moreover, the dismissal of the court trial by the petitioners had its findings based on the First Amendment that permitted such case’s jurisdiction would chill free speech.
In considering the motion by the petitioner to nullify the service of the process causing injury to the respondent in California, The superior court concluded that the petitioners’ action in Florida would, in general, be reasonable to support a jurisdiction’s assertion in California. However, in the view of the court, attentiveness was very vital basing its argument on the chilling effect that was impending on the article’s author and editor. This effect would have arisen from the obligation of the aforesaid defendant to appear in jurisdictions, remotely, in efforts to respond to the article’s contented in which they authored and edited.
The superior court moreover granted the motion since it gave the consideration that Jones’ rights could be satisfactorily provided for in her lawsuit against the defendant without necessarily the petitioners appearing as separate parties. Although appeal from the California Court had reversed the suit, a conclusion was resulted at in the Supreme Court that the jurisdiction was valid since the petitioners, in addition of their intention, actually caused a tortuous injury to Jones, the respondent in California (U.S. Supreme Court, 2010).
Despite the fact that the actions that bore the effects were outside the state of California, this could not put off this state from claiming jurisdiction over a cause of action emanating from the effects. It was unethical for the defendant to try to avoid the suit in California on the basis of the fourteenth Amendment that authorizes personal jurisdiction over a defendant for having certain minimum contacts in any state in such a manner that the suit maintenance is not impugning to fairness and significant justice, which are traditional notions.
The perception that “The National Enquirer” acted unethically is also based on the fact that it published a defamatory article about a Californian resident’s actions. This article defamed her profession as a presenter in a Californian based television. Moreover, the harm impact on the injury in professionalism and Jones’ emotional distress was suffered in this state. Owing to these facts of California being the center of the incidents, it rightful for the jurisdiction over the petitioners to be in California.
Although the petitioners argue that they should not be held responsible for the article circulation, this is not at all convincing to evade facing their jurisdiction in California. This is because their negligence was not without a target, but was intentional and tortuous as it is alleged, purposed for California State. As South and Calder authored and edited the article respectively, they were aware that its probability to cause a devastating impact on Jones, the respondent was high (Harmetz, 1984).
Additionally, they were certain that the impact of the harm would be greatly felt by Jones in California, where she resided and worked. Besides, it was this state that the magazine’s circulation was largest. It had also been provided in the California’s Superior Court that an individual who suffered injuries in that state needed not to seek redress in Florida for a resident of the latter state who had intentionally caused the injury in California. Being primary participants of the libelous action towards a Californian resident, the petitioners should therefore face their jurisdiction in California since their actions while in Florida were intentional; causing injury to the respondent in California.
Daily news. (2010). The National Enquirer. Retrieved August 20, 2010 from http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/The+National+Enquirer
Harmetz, A. (1984). National Enquirer Agrees to Settle With Shirley Jones in Libel Suit. The New York Times. April 27, 1984. Retrieved August 20 2010 from http://www.nytimes.com/1984/04/27/us/national-enquirer-agrees-to-settle-with-shirley-jones-in-libel-suit.html
U.S. Supreme Court. (2010).CALDER v. JONES, 465 U.S. 783 (1984) 465 U.S. 783 CALDER ET AL. v. JONES. Retrieved from http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&court=US&case=/us/465/783.html