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Current Developments in the Commercial Divisions of the
New York State Courts by Schlam Stone & Dolan LLP
Posted: January 12, 2018

Defamation Claim Barred by Fair and True Report Privilege

On January 11, 2018, the First Department issued a decision in Highland Capital Management, L.P. v. Stern, 2018 NY Slip Op. 00230, dismissing a defamation claim under the fair and true report privilege, explaining:

Defendant Stern’s statement to the Wall Street Journal, that plaintiff investment advisor “just took our money,” fell within the statutory privilege against libel claims for the publication of a fair and true report of a judicial proceeding. The statement, in the context of the article, which was about lawsuits filed against plaintiff, would be understood by an ordinary reader to refer to defendant Muirfield Capital Management LLC’s claim that plaintiff improperly withdrew money from an investment fund plaintiff managed, in which Muirfield invested.

(Internal citations omitted).

Civil litigation can involve claims that cause real reputational harm, but not every statement can be the subject of a defamation claim. Contact Schlam Stone & Dolan partner John Lundin at jlundin@schlamstone.com if you or a client have questions about whether statements about you or your business can be the basis for a claim for defamation.

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