Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Deciding whether a statement is of and concerning the plaintiff in a defamation action.

Practice point:  In a defamation action, whether a plaintiff has demonstrated that a particular statement names or so identifies him so that the statement can be said to be of and concerning that plaintiff may be decided as a matter of law and need not be determined by a jury.

The Appellate Division held that where, as here, the statement does not name the plaintiffs at all and contains nothing that would cause a reader to think defendant was referring to them, the statement is not of and concerning the plaintiffs.

Student note:  Similarly, where an allegedly defamatory statement is directed at a company, it does not implicate the company's suppliers, partners, vendors or affiliated enterprises, even if they sustain injury as a result.

Case:  Three Amigos SJL Rest., Inc. v. CBS News Inc., NY Slip Op 06409 (1st Dept. 2015)

Here is the decision.

Tomorrow's issue: A failed motion to vacate a default.