Court dismisses libel lawsuit by professor

MASSACHUSETTS ‘ Former student journalist Avik Roy can breathe a little easier after a state appeals court dismissed a libel suit against him in May.

Roy, a former reporter at Counterpoint, a publication written by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wellesley College students, was accused of libel by a Wellesley professor.

Professor Tony Martin sued Roy, claiming Roy libeled him in an 1993 article that said Martin was granted tenure only after he filed a racial discrimination suit against Wellesley. Counterpoint later printed a correction that said Martin had gained tenure before the lawsuit.

In a court case that lasted eight years, two judges found that Roy had not written with actual malice ‘ knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard for the truth ‘ and that Martin should be considered a public figure.

The appellate court said the lower court had acted appropriately on all counts.

CASE: Martin v. Roy, 767 N.E.2d 603 (Mass. App. Ct. 2002)