Georgia Jury Awards $100K in Finding ‘Red Hat’ Novel Libelous

November 25, 2009

A jury in Gainesville, Georgia has decided that an author libeled a former friend in a novel.

The jury found that Haywood Smith’s novel “The Red Hat Club” damaged Vicki Stewart because it contained a character that closely resembled Stewart and portrayed her as a sexually promiscuous alcoholic. The jury rejected a claim of invasion of privacy.

The jury of eight men and four women awarded Stewart $100,000 in damages and denied her request for attorney fees.

Stewart thanked members of the jury at the conclusion of the trial and said she hoped the verdict will lead to better publishing laws.

Smith said she accepted the verdict and hoped Stewart would find it healing.

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