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October 02, 2013

Public figure’s complaint that false and defamatory statements were made about him dismissed as the record showed that the statements were true


Public figure’s complaint that false and defamatory statements were made about him dismissed as the record showed that the statements were true
2013 NY Slip Op 06083, Appellate Division, First Department

Plaintiff, a public figure [Figure], alleged that a New York City police detective “made false and defamatory statements about him to the press.” Figure sued but his petition was dismissed by Supreme Court.

In response to Figure’s appeal, the Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s ruling, explaining that “The record demonstrates that all of the statements attributed to [the police detective] about [Figure] were true, namely, that [Figure] was being sought for questioning; that repeated efforts to locate [Figure] had been unsuccessful; and that the case involved an allegation of rape.

The Appellate Division then observed that “the fact that these truths may have been fatal to [Figure’s] bid for public office have no bearing on whether they were legally defamatory.”

Moreover, said the Appellate Division, Figure “failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether the alleged statements were actuated by ill will.”

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
http://www.nycourts.gov/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_06083.htm
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