Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A defendant in a defamation case may rely upon the accuracy of a report in a reputable French newspaper in forwarding a translation of the article to a third person, a Southern District of New York federal judge has ruled. According to a memorandum and order filed last week by Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, a translation — even if it is not completely literal — is entitled to the same respect as the original article when passed on to a third party. In Fabry v. Meridian VAT Reclaim Inc., 99 Civ. 5149, Judge Buchwald granted summary judgment to the defendant in a case where the plaintiff said that the republication of translated articles from a regional newspaper in northern France could give rise to a libel cause of action in New York court. The articles included coverage of an investigation by French police of Michel Fabry for allegedly retaining tax refunds that were due to clients. The newspaper in which the stories appeared, La Voix du Nord, is published only in French, and the two articles were translated into English by Lifeline Language Services, of Lancaster, England. A letter containing the two translations and three articles in the original French, was sent from the president of a competing American company to 15 clients of Fabry. Both companies engaged in aiding U.S. businesses in recouping value-added tax incurred in European countries. Fabry said he had been defamed by the republication of the stories, which he said were untrue, by the president of Meridian VAT Reclaim Inc. USA, Deborah Ferolito. Meridian USA moved for summary judgment, arguing that it was entitled to rely upon the veracity of the newspaper articles. Judge Buchwald said that Meridian was entitled to a qualified privilege under New York State law because it could reasonably rely on the accuracy of the reports in La Voix du Nord, a reputable newspaper, and did not have a substantial reason to doubt the report. In a transcript of her delivery of her decision from the bench, Judge Buchwald said it did not matter that Ferolito and Meridian USA were sending along translations of the French articles, and that in some respects, the translations were not literal. “[W]e find that there should be no different standard for defendant’s reliance on the work of a reputable translation,” Judge Buchwald said in the transcript. “While plaintiff challenges some aspects of the translation, plaintiff does not make a reputational challenge to the translation service or provide any basis for Meridian to challenge the service’s reputation. Finally, there is no evidence in the record to support an assertion that Meridian deliberately procured a skewed translation.” As for the assertions in the articles, Judge Buchwald concluded that they were passed along by Ferolito, who had no actual knowledge of their alleged falsehood, without any expression of her views on the ultimate truth of any allegation against Fabry. Edward K. Lenci, of Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly in New York, represented Fabry, while Thomas E. Mehrtens, of Downing, Mehrtens & Peck, also in New York, represented Meridian.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.