Seldon v. Compass Restaurant

NEW YORK COUNTY
Torts

New York Law Journal

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Justice Joan Madden

Cosmic Group moved to dismiss Seldon's defamation complaint for failure to state a cause of action. Seldon alleged claims for libel and sought damages of $1 million, complaining defendants published to Concannon an email containing allegedly defamatory statements about him. He argued the statements were false and defamatory, and alleged he was a "serial suer, scammer, spammer, embezzler, and revenge artist." Cosmic asserted affirmative defenses, claiming the statements were not published, were opinion and were true, thus protected by a qualified privilege, arguing the alleged defamatory statements were non-actionable statements of opinion. The court agreed, finding the email at issue qualified as non-actionable opinion. It stated, reading the email as a whole, it was clear an ordinary reader would understand the writer's remarks describing Seldon were based on articles about him and referenced in the email. It relied on Sandals Resorts International v. Google, concluding as the links and websites in the email disclose facts underlying the writer's remarks, the email was accompanied by a recitation of facts on which it was based, qualifying as pure opinion, and not actionable. Thus, dismissal was granted.

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