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Recent Developments in New York Regarding Libel and Slander

A New York court ruled that a religious teacher was not a "public figure" and therefore could more easily sue an organization that allegedly defamed him in one of its publications.

New York
State:
Key point. Statements made about a "public figure" ordinarily cannot be defamatory unless made with malice. Malice means either a knowledge that the statements were false, or a reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity. This is a difficult standard to prove, meaning that public figures rarely succeed in suing others for defamation. Religious leaders are not necessarily public figures.

A New York court ruled that a religious teacher was not a "public figure" and therefore could more easily sue an organization that allegedly defamed him in one of its publications. A nonprofit organization existed to provide education and support to women who are victims of sexual abuse. One of its representatives allegedly mailed letters to several members of a religious organization informing them that a number of their religious leaders had "sexually coerced and exploited" scores of women during ...

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Posted:
  • January 1, 1999

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