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Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Friday, May 9, 2014

Federal Court Dismisses Banker's Lawsuit Against Arizona State Law Prof for Defamation in Wash. U. Law Review Article and Subsequent Lecture

KramerFollowing up on my previous post, Banker Sues Arizona State Law Prof, Wash. U. Law Review, for Defamation in Of Meat and Manhood Article, involving a lawsuit by New Jersey banker Robert Catalanello against Zachary Kramer (Arizona State) for defamation in his article, Of Meat and Manhood, 89 Wash. U. L. Rev. 287 (2011), and in a subsequent lecture at Western New England University School of Law.  The article and lecture discussed a lawsuit brought by Ryan Pacifico, a fired employee, who alleged that Mr. Catalanello discriminated against him because of his vegetarianism and perceived homosexuality.

On Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York dismissed the case:

[A]t the very outset of the article, Kramer stated clearly that the Pacifico facts were drawn from the allegations of a complaint in an ongoing case, and were not facts found by a court or jury. Taken as a whole, Kramer’s account gives a substantially correct account of the allegations in the Pacifico Complaint, and does not give the reader the erroneous impression that these allegations are proven “facts.” Accordingly, Kramer’s article recapping Pacifico’s allegations is protected by the fair-report privilege. ... Kramer’s statements in the lecture, considered in context, are a fair and accurate report of the ... Pacifico Complaint. They thus cannot support a defamation claim.

Catalanello v. Kramer, No. 13 Civ. 7121 (S.D.N.Y. May 7, 2014).  Washington University and Western New England previously were dismissed as defendants in the lawsuit.

For more, see Law 360, Law Prof Escapes Defamation Suit Over Law Review Article.

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