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Masson v. Malcolm et al.: 1993 & 1994

Final Decision

The second trial began on October 3, 1994. Morgan again challenged Malcolm's ethics as a journalist. He also hinted that she may have had a bias against Masson because of his anti-Freudian leanings. Malcolm was a known supporter of traditional psychoanalysis and her father had been a psychiatrist. A few weeks later, in his closing arguments, Morgan charged that Masson had lost a promising career after being "shot down by the cruelest language of a skilled writer."

Despite these arguments, the jury this time exonerated Malcolm, finding that two of the quotes were false and one was defamatory, but none was written with a reckless disregard for the truth. A relieved Malcolm burst into tears. Masson indicated he might not appeal the verdict, although he subsequently did. In 1996, the Ninth Circuit Court upheld the verdict of the lower court.

Although Malcolm ultimately won her case, some journalists questioned her professional practices. After the 1993 trial, an editor at Time magazine said, "I think it is always dangerous when the public is given any reason to doubt what they have been reading." But when Malcolm was asked if she would change her reporting techniques, she replied, "Absolutely not."

Michael Burgan

Suggestions for Further Reading

Carmody, Deirdre. "In Trial's Wake, Rethinking What to Put in Quotes.-" New, York Times (June 4, 1993): A16.

Greenhouse, Linda. "Justices Refuse to Open a Gate for Libel Cases." Neaw York Times (June 21, 1991): Al.

Gross, Jane. "Impasse over Damages in New Yorker Libel Case." New York Times (June 4, 1993): Al.

—. "Jury Hears Final Arguments in Analyst's Libel Suit." New York Times (May 28, 1993): A10.

—. "On Libel and the Literati: The New Yorker on Trial." Vew York Times (May 5, 1993): Al.

Malcolm, Janet. In the Freud Archives. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1984.

Margolick, David. "Psychoanalyst Loses Libel Suit against a New Yorker Reporter." New, York Times (November 3, 1994): Al.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Masson v. Malcolm et al.: 1993 1994 - Back And Forth In The Courts, Final Decision, Suggestions For Further Reading