South Bend, Indiana - On Friday, The Irish Rover, independent, non-profit, student publication “devoted to preserving the Catholic identity of Notre Dame” asked a court to force Dr. Tamara Kay, a professor at Notre Dame, to pay $178,000 in legal fees for a frivolous defamation suit she brought against The Irish Rover and lost.
Earlier this month, the state court in South Bend dismissed Dr. Kay's defamation suit against The Irish Rover. Indiana law has an “Anti-SLAPP” law which protects someone when exercising their right of free speech against a frivolous suit by dismissing the case. The Anti-SLAPP law also requires the person who filed the meritless suit to pay the attorney's fees for the defendant. That is exactly what happened to The Irish Rover and is why the court dismissed Dr. Kay's lawsuit. Now, Dr. Kay will be obligated to pay The Irish Rover's attorney's fees.
The Irish Rover published two articles about Dr. Kay—a noted abortion rights activist— each of which accurately reported on her public statements and actions following the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe v. Wade, and following the subsequent passage of Indiana's abortion law.
Dr. Kay posted a sign on her Notre Dame office door which stated, “This is a SAFE SPACE to get help and information on ALL Healthcare issues and access— confidentially with care and compassion.” Her twitter account regularly shared information supporting her pro-abortion stance—including information about “Plan C Pills” (a common term for pills used to induce abortion, often at home).
The court found that “healthcare” in this context referred to abortion services and concluded The Irish Rover's reporting on Dr. Kay's pro-abortion activities and speeches were accurate and lawful.
“Indiana's Anti-SLAPP law provides a way for defendants who are accused of defamation without any basis in law and fact to recoup their attorney fees and is intended to be a deterrent for people bringing these types of frivolous cases,” stated James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, lead counsel for the Irish Rover. “My firm concentrates on defending First Amendment rights—we were happy to defend The Irish Rover's right to free speech in this case.”