Individual in Rezoning Controversy Should Be Treated as Public Figure
Participated in an amicus brief (with the Reporters Committee and other amici) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in McGlothlin v. Hennelly. In this defamation action, James McGlothlin claimed that Kevin Hennelly defamed him in a Facebook post and a comment in an online article about the rezoning and redevelopment of Hilton Head Golf Course, owned by McGlothlin’s company. The district court granted summary judgment for Hennelly. The lower court held that McGlothlin was a private figure and that McGlothlin could not show that Hennelly acted with common-law malice as required by South Carolina law. The amicus brief supports the district court’s grant of summary judgment but on alternative grounds: that McGlothlin is a public figure and has not established that Hennelly acted with actual malice.