(Daily Caller News Foundation) – A judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit on Monday that a left-wing professor filed against a Catholic student publication at the University of Notre Dame in July.
St. Joseph County, Indiana, Superior Court Judge Steven H. David dismissed a lawsuit by Notre Dame global affairs and sociology Professor Tamara Kay against the Irish Rover, citing the state’s anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP) law.
“Because the Court has found 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,” the judge concluded, referring to the pair of articles — published in March of 2023 and October of 2022 — that were the subject of the lawsuit.
“The Court concludes 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,” Judge David added.
SLAPP laws exist to prevent frivolous lawsuit intended to silence critics. Indiana’s SLAPP law gives the court six months to decide on whether the lawsuit should be dismissed and the Rover filed its SLAPP motion in July.
Kay filed a defamation lawsuit against the Irish Rover in May, citing the two articles that highlighted her vocal support for abortion access at a Catholic university that “recognizes and upholds the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death,” according to the Notre Dame website.
The Rover’s October article, published a month after Indiana’s post-Dobbs abortion ban took effect, featured an image of a poster on Kay’s door encouraging students to approach her for assistance on “ALL healthcare issues.” The poster also included a large capital “J,” which she explained in a since-deleted social media post was a code indicating willingness to help students access abortion.
In March 2023, the Rover published a report about Kay’s pro-abortion statements at a Notre Dame College Democrats meeting as well as since-deleted tweets directing Notre Dame colleagues to websites that she claimed the Rover falsely quoted from.
The Daily Caller previously obtained the audio of Kay’s comments and found the Rover’s quotations of Kay’s remarks contained minor inaccuracies but did not distort their substance.
“All of this is utterly devastating,” Kay told The Associated Press in July. She added that her public comments “are all fair game for reporting and critique, as long as that reporting is accurate. It has not been.”
Kay and Notre Dame did not immediately respond to requests for comment.