Forum-shopping your defamation case?

by Walter Olson on February 28, 2005

Consider scenic New Mexico, which runs an extra-long statute of limitations and thus will welcome claims extinct elsewhere. The tactic didn’t work, however, for ex-Congressional wife Carolyn Condit, who went there to sue USA Today to escape other states’ limits on stale claims. Unfortunately for her case, she could offer no evidence that the allegedly libelous article had circulated in N.M., “since only the first edition of USA Today was distributed in the state and the story appeared only in the second edition,” as AP noted; a federal judge accordingly threw out her suit last August for lack of jurisdiction (“Judge dismisses libel suit by wife of Gary Condit”, AP/North County Times, Aug. 5, via CalBlog, Jan. 14 and Jan. 26). For New Mexico forum-shopping by the plaintiffs in the “Dazed and Confused” case, see Ted’s Oct. 12 post (also Dec. 8). For more details on the lack of connection of that case to New Mexico, see the memorandum of defendants in support of motion to dismiss (courtesy Courthouse News (PDF)).