Wednesday, August 15, 2007

McGarry v. University of San Diego (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 15, 2007)

I've got tenure. Thankfully.

As a result, at least in theory, I could take serious issue with this opinion by Justice McDonald. So I could strenuously argue that the University of San Diego and my present boss, Mary Lyons (the president of USD), should properly be subjected to a lawsuit for defamation by Kevin McGarry, the former longtime football coach for USD before he was fired in 2003. And, at least in theory, I would suffer no adverse consequences whatsoever for my statement that my boss and employer should be seriously punished for their misconduct.

But I ain't gonna test the waters. Because, fortunately, I think that Justice McDonald is correct in this one. McGarry's lawsuit was properly dismissed on an anti-SLAPP motion because while we know (from the newspaper) that someone at USD uttered allegedly defamatory statements about McGarry, the Shield Law precluded McGarry from discovering their identity from the newspaper. And an anti-SLAPP motion was proper because McGarry was a limited purpose public figure and the alleged defamation arose from protected conduct.

So USD, and President Lyons, wins. And recover their costs and attorney's fees on appeal.

All of which, I might respectfully suggest, could easily be allocated towards merit raises on behalf of diligently blogging legal scholars at the University of San Diego School of Law.