By: Daily Record Staff//August 14, 2018
By: Daily Record Staff//August 14, 2018//
New York State Court of Appeals
Absolute privilege – Participation in judicial and quasi-judicial proceedings
Stega, et al v. New York Downtown Hospital, et al.
Background: At issue is whether the statements made by one of the defendants, as published, are protected by absolute privilege as quasi-judicial. The underlying defamation claim involved a proceeding wherein the plaintiff was involved in clinical trial and the relationships with those involved deteriorated. After she was terminated she filed a complaint with the Federal Drug Administration. During a meeting with the FDA, the defendants made allegedly defamatory statements. The plaintiff was not a participant and could not challenge the statements made before they were published.
Ruling: The Court of Appeals held that the Rosenberg v. Metlife Inc. 8 NY3d 359 (2007) decision does not shield statements, made in an administrative proceeding, that defame a person who has no recourse to challenge the accusations. The absolute privilege against defamation applied to communications in certain administrative proceedings is not a license to destroy a person’s character by means of false, defamatory statements.
John A. Beranbaum for the appellant; Christopher J. Porzio for the respondents.