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A listing in a directory of lawyers that described an attorney as an “ambulance chaser” interested only in “slam dunk cases” provides the basis for a claim of defamation, the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled. Finding that the description of attorney Leonard Flamm stood alone in “an otherwise fact-laden” directory, a unanimous court found that the statements were not protected by the First Amendment or the New York Constitution. Flamm was one of 275 lawyers listed in a 1997 directory issued by the American Association of University Women and the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, both non-profit corporations that work to improve educational opportunities for women and girls. Following the directory’s listing of Mr. Flamm’s name, address and telephone numbers was the following description: “Mr. Flamm handles sex discrimination cases in the area of pay equity, harassment and promotion. Note: At least one plaintiff has described Flamm as an ‘ambulance chaser’ with an interest only in ‘slam dunk cases.’”

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