Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Everything You Wanted To Know About Defamation Law

Tannerite Sports v. NBC, ____F.3d___(2d Cir. July 25, 2017), though not an employment law case, is brought to your attention because the court exhaustively examines defamation under New York Law. One interesting aspect is that the court states that New York's stringent pleading requirements do not apply in federal court actions because federal courts are governed by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. As the court explains in footnote 10:

New York state law requires that, “[i]n an action for libel or slander, the particular words complained of shall be set forth in the complaint,” Nowak v. EGW Home Care, Inc., 82 F. Supp. 2d 101, 113 (W.D.N.Y. 2000) (emphasis added) (quoting N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 3016(a)). Although federal pleading standards, not state standards, govern this matter, see Kelly, 806 F.2d at 46, the strictness of New York’s law reflects the importance of giving defendants notice of why any alleged statements were defamatory.  Similarly, we note that stricter rules for defamation pleading prevailed under earlier pleading regimes, see, e.g., Foltz v. Moore McCormack Lines, Inc., 189 F.2d 537, 539 (2d Cir. 1951), and although we do not suggest a return to those standards, they underline the importance of receiving proper notice of a defamation claim.

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