A Fulton County, Ga., judge has scuttled a defamation suit brought against a local attorney, his former firm and a public relations company over comments the lawyer made when filing an earlier, unsuccessful suit by an energy company.

The Aug. 9 order by Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford ruled that the comments made by David L. Pardue did not meet the standard of actual malice required to justify a defamation action against Florida-based Infinite Energy. The company, Bedford said, qualified as a public figure by legal standards and thus had to show that Pardue’s comments were made with the knowledge that they were false or “with reckless disregard for [their] truth or falsity.”

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