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Media & Communications Law

N.Y. Post Defamation Suit Dismissed

Posted Jun 20, 2007 7:52 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A New York appeals court has dismissed a former basketball star’s defamation suit against a sports writer for the New York Post.

The court said ex-pro player Latrell Sprewell failed to present evidence of actual malice on the part of reporter Marc Berman, the New York Journal Law Journal reports.

Sprewell had sued over articles claiming he broke his finger in a fight on a boat, according to Associated Press. The article said the allegations were made by two anonymous sources and Sprewell had denied them. Berman had also done extensive additional reporting in an effort to verify the allegations, the court noted.

Sprewell’s lawyers had argued the Post could not rely on information provided by the anonymous sources in deciding the motion for summary judgment.

Slade R. Metcalf of Hogan & Hartson, who represented the defendants, praised the ruling for protecting journalists.

"I think the court really has told journalists and newspapers that they don't have to reveal the identity of confidential sources to prevail on summary judgment," he told the New York Law Journal. "If you have done significant additional newsgathering in order to prepare for publication, you can still prevail."

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