|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
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
|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.
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.