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Browning v. Clinton

    Brief Fact Summary.

    Browning sued former President Clinton for censoring the content Browning was able to put in a novel regarding their extramarital affair when she received no publication offers.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law.

    A plaintiff must plead special damages with particularity in federal court under FRCP 9(g).

    Facts.

    Browning claimed to have an affair with former President Clinton and began to write a semi-autobiographical novel about the affair. Clinton’s brother and White House counsel threatened Browning if she continued writing the novel. Clinton apologized to Browning and negotiated an agreement regarding what Browning was permitted to include in the book. Browning got no publication offers and the New Yorker included statements from a publication company that they would never publish Browning’s book. Browning sued.

    Issue.

    Whether a plaintiff must plead special damages with particularity in federal court?

    Held.

    Yes. The dismissal of all claims is affirmed. Browning’s leading of special damages is insufficient because Browning failed to provide lost relationships, the amount of her losses, or any causation.

    Discussion.

    FRCP 9(g) requires that special damages must be specifically stated. A plea of special damages can be stated by providing a list of customers who left the plaintiff or evidence of a loss of sales due to the publication.


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