The Adelson-O’Keeffe Libel Suit Settles

Sheldon Adelson
The thin-skinned Sheldon Adelson. Credit: Bectrigger

I’ve written several times about the Hong Kong libel suit brought by the thin-skinned Sheldon Adelson against Wall Street Journal reporter Kate O’Keefe, who wrote an article describing Adelson as “foul-mouthed.” The case gave rise to some § 1782 litigation in which O’Keeffe sought (and received) permission to take discovery from people who, she said, could provide evidence of the truth of what she had written. I don’t know whether the § 1782 discovery led to useful information, but in any event, the case has now been settled.

According to the report, no money changed hands in the settlement. This is a win, of course, for O’Keeffe. But she (or rather, the Wall Street Journal) bears her own litigation expenses, which probably add up to a tidy sum. That, of course, is the point of over-the-top libel suits like this. In the current political climate, it’s important that § 1782 remain available to libel defendants when a US plaintiff chooses to bring a libel case in a plaintiff-friendly forum: we cannot underestimate the chilling effect of this kind of litigation.

About Ted Folkman

Ted Folkman is a shareholder with Murphy & King, a Boston law firm, where he has a complex business litigation practice. Folkman also serves as an arbitrator and is a member of the Commercial and Consumer Panels of the American Arbitration Association. He is the author of International Judicial Assistance (MCLE 2d ed. 2016), a nuts-and-bolts guide to international judicial assistance issues, and of the chapter on service of process in the ABA's treatise on International Aspects of US Litigation (J. Berger, ed. 2017), and he is the publisher of Letters Blogatory, the Web's first blog devoted to international judicial assistance, which the ABA recognized as one of the best 100 legal blogs in 2012 and 2014 - 2016.

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