Firm Wins Favorable Appellate Decision in Defamation Case -- First of its Kind in the Second Department

Alexander Klein's client won a favorable decision out of the Supreme Court of the State of New York Appellate Division: Second Judicial Department on a defamation case that marks a first of its kind in the Second Department. There had been only one other case like it (in the First Department).

The question the firm presented was how specifically a victim of slander must plead the slanderous utterance. Forever, the requirement in New York has been “in haec verba” (i.e. “in these words,” or verbatim), but does that require a plaintiff to literally put quotation marks around the utterance? In the brief, Mr. Klein pointed out the complication this would pose in cases of slander committed out of the victim’s earshot. Instead, he argued that a plaintiff can simply assert the utterance without quotation marks, because an actual quote would be impossible; and that it is then the Court’s obligation to imply the quotation marks as part of its duty to construe civil complaints as favorably as possible to plaintiffs.

Without a very in-depth discussion, the Court agreed with the argument and reversed the trial court’s dismissal with costs.

Read the decision HERE.