A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a defamation lawsuit brought by former U.S. vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin against the New York Times, over an editorial that she said improperly linked her to the 2011 mass shooting that seriously wounded U.S. Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
In a 3-0 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said the lower court judge who dismissed the complaint erred in considering facts outside the court pleadings.
The appeals court also said Palin plausibly stated a claim for defamation, but took no position on the claim’s merits.
Lawyers and spokespeople for the newspaper did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Palin’s lawyers did not immediately respond to similar requests.
Palin’s lawsuit arose from a June 14, 2017, editorial discussing a shooting that day at an Alexandria, Virginia, baseball field that injured four people, including Republican Rep. Steve Scalise.
That editorial said that prior to the 2011 Arizona shooting of Giffords and others by Jared Lee Loughner, Palin’s political action committee had circulated a map that “put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized crosshairs.”
The Times later corrected the editorial, saying it “incorrectly stated” that a link existed between political rhetoric and the Giffords shooting, and clarified that the map depicted individual congressional districts, not specific lawmakers.