Dismissal of Defamation Suit Over Republished Material Is Upheld

A New York appeals court on Sept. 21, 2016 affirmed the dismissal of a defamation suit against WPIX-TV by a man police identified in a photograph as an attempted rape suspect.

The police originally asked for help in identifying the suspect and later announced the arrest of someone else, but did not announce that the man in the photograph and the suspect were different people.

The New York Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department held that the news reports, based on emails from the NYC Police Department, were substantially accurate and were protected under the fair-report privilege.

“The privilege is not defeated by the NYPD’s error in identifying the plaintiff by his photograph as the assailant,” the court found.

WPIX’s attorney, MARC partner Bruce S. Rosen, said the TV station was unaware that the suspect was not the man in the photograph.

Read the ruling here.

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