Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Defamation and the single publication rule.

Practice point:  Under the rule, the publication of a defamatory statement in a single issue of a newspaper or magazine, although widely circulated and distributed, constitutes one publication, which gives rise to one cause of action, and the statute of limitations runs from the date of that publication.

An exception to the rule has been applied when the following factors are present:  the subsequent publication is intended to and actually reaches a new audience; the second publication is made on an occasion distinct from the initial one; the republished statement has been modified in form or in content; and the defendant has control over the decision to republish. So, repetition of a defamatory statement in a later edition of a book, magazine or newspaper may give rise to a new cause of action.

Student note:  The rule applies to publications on the Internet, and so continuous access to an article posted via hyperlinks to a website is not a republication.

Case:  Martin v. Daily News L.P., NY Slip Op 05369 (1st Dept. 2014)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: The City's Human Rights Law and an allegation of discrimination based on disability.