Editor’s Note: The case is currently under appeal.
The defamation lawsuit brought against the Irish Rover by Prof. Tamara Kay in June 2023 was dismissed by St. Joseph County, Indiana, Superior Court on Jan 8, 2024, under Indiana’s Anti-SLAPP law.
The court’s ruling, issued by Justice Steven David, held that, “the alleged defamatory statements were true, within the meaning of the law, not made with actual malice, did not contain a defamatory inference, and there were no damages that were causally linked to The Irish Rover Articles, Dr. Kay’s defamation claim fails and the statements in the Articles were lawful.”
This dismissal concludes the lawsuit brought against the Rover by Prof. Kay, in which Kay claimed that the Rover had defamed her through an October 2022 article on her public promotion of abortion and a March 2023 article reporting on a College Democrats lecture. The initial legal complaint claimed that the Rover, “has, and continues to intentionally act, with malice, wanton and willful misconduct and a reckless disregard for the truth all with the intent to damage and negatively impact the Plaintiff. ”
The Jan. 8 Court Order, filed in the St. Joseph Circuit and Superior Courts, however, concluded that “the allegedly defamatory statements were made in the furtherance of the defendant’s right to free speech, were made in connection with a public issue, were made with good faith and with a reasonable basis in law and fact.”
The court ruling affirmed that Kay “cannot voluntarily put herself into the national abortion issue either on the campus of Notre Dame or in a broader, national forum, by making multiple strong statements in favor of abortion rights and access to abortion and expect that it will not become newsworthy at Notre Dame and elsewhere.”
The Indiana Court ruling reaffirms the Rover’s initial statement on the baseless lawsuit released in July 2023. As stated then, the articles were “fair and accurate in all respects. The record will confirm this beyond dispute. The Rover will not apologize for just and truthful reporting that helps Our Lady’s University stay true to its Catholic mission.”
In filing and pursuing this lawsuit over the course of the last year, Kay attempted to silence and intimidate undergraduate students at her own university for accurate reporting on her public comments. We hope that this ruling will serve to discourage such efforts to chill free speech in the future and invigorate others to courageously exercise their right to freedom of speech in pursuit of the truth.
We would like to thank the Bopp Law Firm and all those who supported the Rover’s legal defense over the past year.
In Notre Dame,
The 2023–2024 Editorial Staff of the Irish Rover
Photo Credit: Matthew Rice