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Judge Rules Disabled Navy Veteran’s $25M Defamation Suit Against Anti-Defamation League Can Move Forward

— May 20, 2024

Judge Denies in Part and Grants in Part ADL’s Motion to Dismiss. 

Statement from Jason Greaves of the Binnall Law Group: On April 30, 2024, The Honorable Reed O’Connor, Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, in a 21-page opinion, denied in part and granted in part a motion to dismiss brought by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Plaintiff, Mr. John Sabal, a disabled Navy veteran who organizes patriotic festivals and has never been arrested, alleges that the ADL defamed him when it published his name in the ADL Center on Extremism’s “Glossary of Extremism and Hate,” which includes notorious terrorists and mass shooters, and claims as its mission to “monitor, expose and disrupt extremist threats.”

The Court noted: 

[T]he type of extremism featured in the Glossary is of a highly criminal and depraved nature. Combined with the mission statement, the Glossary’s context appears [to] convey factual assertions about persons with Glossary entries rather than mere opinion.

The Court also found that ADL’s inclusion of Mr. Sabal in a report titled, “Hate in the Lone Star State: Extremism & Antisemitism in Texas” was actionable:

By including Sabal alongside antisemites and extremists in a report highlighting “[h]ate [c]rime [s]tatistics” and “[e]xtremist [p]lots and [m]urders,” a reasonable reader could objectively understand the publication’s context as making a factual assertion that Sabal’s events are associated with such criminal activity.

When asked about the decision, Jason Greaves of the Binnall Law Group commented:  “We are thrilled that we will get to continue litigating this important case on its merits. As we stated in our opposition brief, Mr. Sabal’s name should never have appeared in the ADL’s inflammatory publications, and we look forward to holding the ADL accountable for wrongfully smearing Mr. Sabal.”

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