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Libel and Slander

NEW Appellate Division affirms lower court ruling: a political candidate has no license to engage in character assassination!
John Greaney is a  city official who was libeled by his former boss Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer during the 1997 Bronx Borough President campaign. Ferrer charged Greaney was responsible for Ferrer's decision to support a disastrous hospital waste incinerator in 1988. Greaney was not involved in the decision. His only "mistakes" were that in January 1997, in refused to line-up singer Tony Bennett for a Ferrer fundraiser and that later managed the campaign of Ferrer's  opponent.
Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer

We filed a complaint on Greaney's behalf. Ferrer has moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that he has an absolute privilege to lie about matters pertaining to his public office, even in the context of a campaign for reelection.
If Ferrer was right, then that would further load the electoral dice for incumbents. Normally, political candidates have a qualified, not absolute privilege. That means they may be held liable for malicious lies that they knew were untrue. Ferrer's positions is that no matter how untruthful or malicious an incumbent may be, if the subject of the lie involves his public office he is immune for liability. That's not exactly a level playing feel.
Ferrer lost the motion and you can read the decision on the Greaney litigation download page as well as the Appellate Division decision  that made short shrift of Ferrer's appeal. You also download the complaint and its exhibits, Ferrer's memorandum in support of his motion to dismiss, our answering memorandum and Ferrer's reply.

Media Law

I have also represented entertainment and media personalities in a variety of situations. My clients have included individuals from the literary world, network investigative reporters and entrepreneurs. See "Business Relationships."

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