Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2017

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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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