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New Jerseyite sued for "insulting Brazil" on his blog



The ABA Journal has a brief report on a nightmare about to afflict Joe Sharkey, a New Jersey journalist who was a survivor of a horrific mid-air collision between a Brazilian 737 and an American business jet carrying him and six others. All 154 aboard the 737 died when it reportedly nosedived after making an evasive maneuver. Those on the damaged business jet survived after the pilots eventually spotted a runway on a military base deep in the jungle and made a successful emergency landing.

Now Sharkey has been sued--in Brazil--by the widow of a man who died in the accident. She contends that Sharkey's reporting on the plane crash--in the United States--dishonored Brazil, which is apparently a tort in that country. [Shark defended the American pilots of the business jet, who had been accused in Brazil of criminal negligence, and criticized that country's air-traffic control system.] Last week, Sharkey was served in his home state of New Jersey with a copy of the lawsuit. A New York law firm has been retained to enforce stateside a Brazilian judgment against him.

This is exactly what happened to New Yorker Rachel Ehrenfeld, who exposed the terrorist ties of a Saudi who then made Ehrenfeld's life miserable by suing her in England, where libel laws are incredibly plaintiff-friendly. New York passed a law banning enforcement of such foreign impediments to American free speech, but New Jersey has no such law. [Ehrenfeld had better not set foot in England.] The Free Speech Protection Act of 2009, meanwhile, has not made progress federally.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.