Justice Arlene Bluth


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Defendants moved for dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint alleging defamation arising from plaintiff’s application for employment with the Department of Corrections (DOC). DOC rejected his application, partly due to plaintiff’s criminal history, including arrests for marijuana possession and DUI, among other things. Plaintiff filed an Article 78 petition after DOC rejected his application, but that was also rejected. The New York Post reporter Marsh wrote an article about the Article 78 proceeding, and plaintiff objected to allegedly false statements in the article, and the headline, “Drunk driving-pothead thinks he’s fit to be a corrections officer.” Defendants argued dismissal was warranted as they were protected under Civil Rights Law §74 as a fair and accurate report of a judicial proceeding. The court noted defendants should not be faulted for “parroting DOC’s findings.” It noted that while the headline was “unfortunate, sensationalist and drafted simply to garner attention,” when considered together with the article can only be characterized as a fair and true report of the substantive issues in plaintiff’s Article 78 proceeding. Thus, considering the article in its entirety, dismissal of the complaint was granted.