Surfing Legend Loses Libel Lawsuit

 "Vaya con Dios, Brah." -Johnny Utah, Point Break

Based solely on the movies and other anecdotal evidence, you would never think that a surfer would sue another surfer for libel.  But it happened.  And the surfer who brought the lawsuit lost at trial.

Matthew Heller writes in On Point that Craig "Owl" Chapman sued a surf magazine for alleged statements that Chapman was a "degenerate, pathetic, and drug addled outcast."  A jury found that none of the alleged defamatory statements was false, so it wasn’t required to reach the issue of whether they were factual.  However, it seems clear that none of the statements were statements of fact.  Mere epithets or figurative language are not actionable defamation.

So in the immortal words of Keanu Reeve’s character in Point Break, vaya con Dios, Mr. Chapman.



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