Case Study: Law – Defamation of Character

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Case Study: Law – Defamation of Character

Case 2: Settling a Defamation of Character Case

Before Hiring Ethridge

A national media firm had run a series of stories on a public issue that contained negative information about an individual who was involved in the issue. The individual sued the media for slander and defamation of character. As part of the lawsuit, the individual hired a different polling firm (NOT Ethridge & Associates, L.L.C.) to conduct a public opinion poll. The purpose of that other firm’s poll was to attempt to establish the effects of the media stories on negative perceptions of the individual. The law firm that was defending the media firm hired Ethridge & Associates, L.L.C. as an advisor on how to evaluate the quality and validity of public opinion polls and to evaluate the quality and validity of the other polling firm’s study.

After Hiring Ethridge

Ethridge met with the client law firm to understand the issues and the evidences in the case. We then provided to the law firm a list of questions to ask of the other polling firm as “discovery” in the legal case and how to evaluate the answers to those questions. Then, once the other polling firm responded, Ethridge wrote a critique of their answers to the question. We were able to raise questions about the quality and validity of the other firm’s poll that they could not answer. We were also able to demonstrate how their poll sample design, questions and analysis were incapable of proving the claims that the other side of the case were trying to base on the poll. As a result, the case was settled out of court to the media firm’s benefit.

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