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Bardwell v. Kentucky New Era Newspaper

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division

February 14, 2017

MARK J. BARDWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
KENTUCKY NEW ERA NEWSPAPER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge United States District Court

         Mark J. Bardwell, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this action against, as pertinent to this opinion, the Kentucky New Era newspaper and Chuck Henderson, whom he identifies as the Chief Executive Officer of the newspaper, bringing a common-law claim for libel. In detail, Bardwell alleges that the Kentucky New Era published a defamatory article which described certain criminal charges brought against him. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Kentucky New Era and Henderson filed a motion to dismiss Bardwell's claim against them. Upon its own motion, the Court converted that filing into a motion for summary judgment. Because the Kentucky New Era and, ostensibly, Henderson published a fair and impartial report of the allegations made against Bardwell, the Kentucky New Era and Chuck Henderson's Motion to Dismiss, [R. 18], is GRANTED.

         I.

         A.

         Briefly, Mark J. Bardwell alleges that the Kentucky New Era newspaper, along with Chuck Henderson, whom he identifies as the Chief Executive Officer of the newspaper, published a false and injurious article about him. [See R. 1 at 2, ¶ 4 (Complaint); R. 5 at 5 (Amended Complaint).] The article read:

A Hopkinsville man was arrested Wednesday after he hit someone in the head and threatened them, according to an arrest warrant.
The warrant accuses Mark J. Bardwell, 45, of demanding $20 from the person before hitting them on Oct. 26. Later that day, Bardwell allegedly came to that person's place of work and harassed them over the money.
The person was afraid of being hit again, so they threw a two-by-four at Bardwell, the warrant said.
On Oct. 22, Bardwell told the person they would “end up” like their brother, who was murdered, according to the warrant.
Bardwell was charged with third-degree terroristic threatening and second-degree robbery and booked into the Christian County Jail. Bail was set at $2, 000.

[R. 28 at 2 (Article).] The warrant referenced in the article read:

The Affiant, Thomas Lyle, states that [on October 26, 2015] . . ., the above named defendant [Bardwell] unlawfully: demanded $20 from the affiant, who told him no. Defendant then hit affiant in the head. Later that day, defendant came to where affiant was working and began to harass him over money. Affiant was afraid of being hit again and threw a 2 x 4 at defendant. On Oct. 22, 2015, Defendant had told affiant he was going to “end up” like affiant's brother, who was murdered.

[R. 18-3 at 11 ...


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