Daragjati v. NYP Holdings

RICHMOND COUNTY
Torts

New York Law Journal

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Justice Philip Minardo

Plaintiff sued to recover damages for defamation and gross negligence by the "Post" after it published articles regarding the arrest of plaintiff's brother, a police officer, on charges he falsely arrested an African-American man. Plaintiff and his family were photographed outside the courthouse and the "Post" published an article entitled "'racist' cop in civil-rights rap." A later publication entitled "racist cop being held in protective custody" was accompanied by plaintiff's picture, that other news outlets republished using the same image, thus allegedly identifying plaintiff as the "racist cop." Plaintiff alleged he notified the "Post" of the alleged misattribution, but it continued to publish his picture in a series of later articles without correction. He alleged he suffered financial loss, and emotional and mental anxiety as his clients expressed concern over his characterization as "racist." The court ruled the articles by "Post" were reasonably susceptible of defamatory connotation alleged by plaintiff, thus a jury question was presented if an ordinary reader would understand statements were libelous. As the "Post" was put on notice of defamatory content and failed to take corrective action, plaintiff adequately pleaded gross irresponsibility to avoid dismissal.

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