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Federal Judge Allows Defamation Suits to Proceed Against Competitors’ False Warnings of ‘Serious State Investigation’

“Viewing the allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the plain language of the challenged statement—that Grover is ‘under a serious state investigation’—is verifiable, even if confirming the existence of an investigation may require significant legwork. Either an investigation by the state exists, or it does not,” U.S. District Chief Judge Michael F. Urbanski for the Western District of Virginia said. “The context of the message is important, as it both (1) supports Grover’s contention that a reasonable recipient would understand the challenged statement as stating a fact, and (2) reinforces the implication that Grover has engaged in illegal conduct related to charitable gaming.”

       

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