OC Journalist Wins Appeal of Santa Barbara News-Press Lawsuit

On Friday, the California Court of Appeal issued a ruling in the a libel lawsuit filed against Susan Paterno, director of Chapman University's journalism program, by Wendy McCaw the loony-tunes owner of the Santa Barbara News-Press. The ruling found that McCaw had failed to show any reason why Paterno should be deposed, thus sending the lawsuit back to the trial judge, where Paterno will ask for it to be dismissed.

Paterno had profiled McCaw's bizarre tenure as publisher of the paper for a 2006 American Journalism Review story, which quoted numerous employees talking about what a nutball McCaw is. (50 employees of the paper have resigned since McCaw began acting like a petty dictator, behavior that first surfaced when she went nuts over the paper publishing Rob Lowe's home address in a story).

McCaw claimed that Paterno's story contained 33 libelous statements, but the court ruled that the allegations against her were "provably" false.* "It is ironic that [the News-Press], itself a newspaper publisher, seeks to weaken legal protections that are intended to secure the role of the press in a free society," the court concluded.

You can read Gustavo Arellano's previous coverage of McCaw's loony war against Paterno here.

*Actually, what I meant to say was that the court ruled that Paterno's allegations about McCaw were not provably false. Oops. See comments below for thanks and praises.


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