Las Vegas Sun

April 25, 2015

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Small Las Vegas newspaper loses bid for attorney fees

The Nevada Supreme Court has refused to award $215,000 in costs and attorney fees to a small weekly newspaper in Las Vegas serving the Chinese community in a freedom of the press case.

The Southern Nevada Chinese Weekly and its officials were sued by the Las Vegas Chinese American Chamber of Commerce for writing critical stories on the judging and other aspects of the 2002 Miss Chinatown Las Vegas Beauty Pageant.

The chamber claimed there were 140 false and defamatory statements about the pageant and about the chamber itself. The claims were narrowed to 11 and the newspaper won in district court.

The newspaper sought $195,000 in attorney fees as the prevailing party and $20,000 in costs. District Judge Linda Marie Bell awarded $4,600 to the paper.

The Supreme Court backed Bell who ruled the claims of the chamber were based on reasonable grounds and the chamber did not file the suit to harass the newspaper.

The court said the contention of the newspaper "that the press, as a matter of public policy, should be awarded attorney fees and costs for successfully defending against a defamation suit is meritless because the press has adequate protection and remedies under current law."

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  1. "The newspaper sought $195,000 in attorney fees as the prevailing party and $20,000 in costs."

    This is why ordinary people can't get justice in Nevada's courts. They don't have enough money to buy it.

    "The legal system has also been wounded by lawyers who themselves no longer respect the rule of law ..... When lawyers cannot be trusted to observe the fair processes essential to maintaining the rule of law, how can we expect the public to respect the process?" -- the Honorable Edith Jones to Harvard's Federalist Club "American Legal System Is Corrupt Beyond Recognition, Judge Tells Harvard Law School" 2/28/03