North Carolina county commissioners file libel lawsuit against newspaper

Gaston County commissioners are expected to vote Tuesday on whether to move ahead with a lawsuit filed last month against The Gaston Gazette.

The story at the center of the suit had to do with how Gaston County commissioners handled worker’s compensation claims filed by former county employees.

County staff claimed the story was inaccurate, and on Nov. 12, the day the story was published online at, demanded a retraction and apology. The story appeared in The Gazette’s print edition the following day.

The county’s elected board will decide Tuesday whether to set aside up to $100,000 in county funds to retain legal representation for the a libel lawsuit against The Gazette, Managing Editor Kevin Ellis, and reporter Adam Orr.

Charlotte attorney Jonathan Buchan, who is representing the newspaper in this lawsuit, said the editorial staff was doing what community journalism should do.

“It is The Gazette’s job to shed light on how the commissioners handle their official duties, and that appears to have made these elected officials uncomfortable,” he said in a written statement.

Read more at the Gaston Gazette.