FKB’s Rachel Aghassi and Christopher D. Skoczen prevailed in obtaining an affirmation of dismissal of an action for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against FKB’s client, an attorney who made comments to the New York Post regarding a then-pending action involving his client in U.S. District Court. The dismissal was affirmed by the Appellate Division, First Department.
FKB successfully argued that its client’s statements were protected by the “fair report” privilege, which protects statements to the press where they represent a “fair and true report of the allegations referenced in the federal action.” See New York Civil Rights Law § 74; Branca v. Mayesh, 101 A.D.2d 872 (2nd Dept. 1984). The Court found that “although there is an exception to the fair report privilege where the underlying litigation is a sham, this exception does not apply where, as here, there is no evidence or allegations that the reporter…participated in drafting the sham complaint (see Napoli v New York Post, 175 AD3d 433, 434 [1st Dept 2019], lv denied 35 NY3d 906 ). The Court also agreed with FKB that portions of the statements were non-actional assertions of opinion. The Court also affirmed the dismissal of the plaintiff-appellant’s causes of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, prima facie tort, and tortious interference with business relations.
If you have any questions about this decision, or the defense of attorneys in general, please contact Rachel Aghassi or Christopher D. Skoczen.
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