In an opinion yesterday, Judge Gardephe dismissed a defamation complaint brought by two prominent doctors who practice “anti-aging” medicine (see coverage of them in the New York Times here) over an article on a nonprofit consumer advocacy website called “Quackwatch” reporting that they had agreed to pay fines to the Illinois licensing authorities for

In an opinion Tuesday, Judge Castel dismissed a case brought by three fraternity members against Rolling Stone magazine and one of its writers, Sabrina Erdely, who authored a discredited account of a woman referred to as “Jackie” claiming to have been gang raped at a fraternity at the University of Virginia.

Judge Castel found that the article was not specific enough to defame the plaintiffs.   For example, the article quotes Jackie as saying that the attackers encouraged one another with statements like “Don’t you want to be a brother?” and “We all had to do it, so you do, too” – language that Judge Castel found couldn’t plausibly suggest that every fraternity member was a rapist:
Continue Reading Judge Castel Rules Rolling Stone Article on UVA Rape Did Not Defame Fraternity Members

The Second Circuit today affirmed Judge’s Oetken’s decision from August 2013 dismissing defamation claims against the New Yorker stemming from a 2010 profile of Peter Paul Biro, a specialist in art authentication through fingerprint analysis who was featured in the documentary Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?.  The Second Circuit found that Rule 8

The SDNY Blog is relaunching as a publication of Steptoe & Johnson LLP.  We expect to post several times a week on decisions and other developments in the Southern District of New York.  You can find us right here at, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening in the Southern District while we were away:

  • Judge Berman vacated the NFL’s four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for his alleged role in deflating footballs used during the 2015 AFC Championship Game.  Judge Berman concluded that “Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs, and non-cooperation with the ensuing Investigation.”

Continue Reading SDNY Blog Returns as Steptoe Blog

In an opinion issued today, Judge Engelmayer dismissed defamation and false-light invasion of privacy claims brought against a law professor who wrote a law review article (and gave a related lecture) about sexual discrimination in the workplace.  The article and lecture by Professor Zachary Kramer, titled “Of Meat and Manhood,” discussed problems with courts’ treatment of gender stereotyping claims.  The author used as a case study a lawsuit that accused a managing director of Credit Agricole named Robert Catalanello of workplace discrimination for harassing a vegetarian employee on the assumption that he was gay. After Kramer published the article, the employee, Ryan Pacifico, dropped the discrimination claim against Catalanello.  Catalanello sued Kramer for defamation and false-light invasion of privacy.  Judge Engelmayer dismissed the defamation claims as protected by the fair-report privilege or non-actionable opinion under New Jersey law:
Continue Reading Judge Engelmayer Rules that Law Review Article Discussing Dismissed Allegations of Discrimination Is Not Defamation

In an opinion today, Judge Oetken dismissed a defamation suit brought by GOP donor Sheldon Adelson because (among other reasons) the allegedly defamatory language hyperlinked to an AP article about a lawsuit, and thus constituted a privileged “attribution” of the assertion to a judicial proceeding.  The suit related to an online petition entitled “Tell Romney to Reject Adelson’s Dirty Money.” The petition stated that Adelson “personally approved of prostitution in his Macau casinos,” and the words “personally approved” linked to an AP article reporting on a lawsuit that made the accusation. Judge Oetken found that the hyperlink was sufficient for the attribution privilege:
Continue Reading Judge Oetken Rules Hyperlinking Constitutes Attribution to Source, Dismisses Defamation Suit by Sheldon Adelson

In the defamation action stemming from a 2010 New Yorker profile of  Peter Paul Biro (a specialist in art authentication through fingerprint analysis who was featured in the documentary  Who the #$&% is Jackson Pollock?), Judge Oetken yesterday granted a motion  for judgment on the pleadings filed by the New Yorker Defendants (Conde Nast, and David Grann, the profile’s author), and motions to dismiss filed by the Republisher Defendants (Yale University Press, editor Paddy Johnson, Gawker Media, and Business Insider).
Continue Reading Judge Oetken Dismisses Claims in Biro Defamation Lawsuit Relating to New Yorker Article

In a 65-page opinion issued today, Judge Oetken allowed Peter Paul Biro, who is known for art authentication through fingerprint analysis, to proceed with certain of his defamation and related claims arising from a July 2010 New Yorker article raising questions about him. The article itself is appended to the decision. The defendants had moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety, and, while Judge Oetken concluded that “most of Biro’s claims for defamation based on the express statements contained in the Article or alleged implications that can be drawn from the Article must be dismissed,” he determined that certain specific statements were potentially actionable. Judge Oetken also determined that the “overall impact” of the article was not defamatory and rejected any claim under that theory:
Continue Reading Judge Oetken Allows Art Authenticator to Proceed With Defamation Claims Concerning New Yorker Article