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Defeated politician cannot sue opponent for allegedly defamatory commercial

Andrew Raczkowski sued Gary Peters and Mark Brewer, Michigan's Democratic Party Chairman, arguing that he only lost his 9th Congressional District election because the defendants falsely defamed him in a TV commercial.  In the commercial, Peters and Brewer suggested that Raczkowski was being sued for cheating his business partners.  Raczkowski made the dubious argument that the plaintiffs in the lawsuit were his customers, not his business partners, and that voters would not have cared if he had only been accused of defrauding customers.

The Court of Appeals unanimously rejected this argument and upheld the lower court's dismissal of Raczkowski's lawsuit.  It pointed out that Raczkowski was a "public figure," that the Constitution protects "robust" political speech, and that, frankly, the statements in the TV commercial were substantially true.  The opposition had accurately portrayed the "sting or gist" of the lawsuit by their advertising:  Raczkowski was accused of defrauding people and companies out of millions of dollars.

Makes you wonder if one of Raczkowski's campaign promises was to eradicate friviolous lawsuits.

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