Case of the Day: O’Keeffe v. Adelson

Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson. Credit: Bectrigger

The case of the day is O’Keeffe v. Adelson (11th Cir. 2016). This is the appeal from In re Application of O’Keeffe (S.D. Fla. 2015), which I covered. Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson sued Wall Street Journal reporter Kate O’Keeffee in Hong Kong for defamation after she described him as a “scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working class Dorchester, Mass.”
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Case of the Day: In re O’Keeffe

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Letters Blogatory wishes its readers a Happy Patriots' Day!

The case of the day is In re O’Keeffe (3d Cir. 2016). I’ve written about the case before. Kate O’Keeffe was a reporter with the Wall Street Journal. She wrote an article that described casino magnate Sheldon Adelson as “foul-mouthed.” Adelson sued for defamation in Hong Kong, and O’Keeffe sought issuance of a subpoena to Kirk A. Thorell, who as an auditor who worked on audits for one of Adelson’s companies. Adelson moved to quash the subpoena, but the district court denied the motion, and Adelson appealed.
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§ 1782 Applications in Sheldon Adelson’s Libel Suit Against Kate O’Keeffe

Today we have two cases of the day: In re Application of O’Keeffe (S.D. Fla. 2015), and In re Application of O’Keeffe (D.N.J. 2015). The applicant in both cases, Kate O’Keeffe, is a reporter for the Wall Street Journal. In 2012, she wrote an article about the casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson, that described him as a “scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working class Dorchester, Mass.” Adelson sued her for libel in Hong Kong, where O’Keeffe is based, alleging that the adjective “foul-mouthed” was false and defamatory.

In Florida, O’Keeffe sought discovery from Nikita Zukov, a Palm Beach architect who, she said, “frequently interacted with Adelson while providing architectural services for a project for Adelson’s company.” O’Keeffee claimed that Zukov may have “personally witnessed Adelson use foul or otherwise offensive language.” Zukov, she said, “was terminated from thep roject after approximately nine months and later prevailed in a brach of contract action” against Adelson’s company. Zukov’s dealings with Adelson were in 1989.
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Case of the Day: In re O’Keeffe

The case of the day is In re O’Keeffe (D.N.J. 2015). Kate O’Keeffe was a Hong Kong-based reporter for Dow Jones & Co. She wrote an article, published in the US, European, and Asian editions of the Wall Street Journal, that described casino magnate Sheldon Adelson as “foul-mouthed.” Adelson, displaying some pretty thin skin for a billionaire in my opinion, sued O’Keeffe for libel in Hong Kong. O’Keeffe brought an application under § 1782 for leave to serve a subpoena on Kirk A. Thorell, formerly the auditor for one of Adelson’s companies. The WSJ had previously reported that Adelson’s “demeanor” was one of the reasons Thorell’s firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, no longer audited the company. She suggested that Thorell might have information to support her assertion, in her article, that Adelson was “foul-mouthed.” The magistrate judge granted the application ex parte, and Adelson then moved to quash.
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