Can a TV news show be held libel if they aired slanderous statements about my son even though they knew them to be false?

Asked almost 2 years ago - New York, NY

My son is deceased and this attack on him in this new show has defamed his memory and caused tremoundous emotional distress to me and my family. The statements made by the person interviewed were false, vicious and slanderous. The reporter was told this repeatedly by everyone involved including the police. They aired the show anyway and continue to make false leading allogations on their website. We live in Canada and the story is about Canada but the news show is based out of New York.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. David Alexander Browde

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Some of the information posted here is, unfortunately, quite misleading.

    Black letter law: in New York you can't defame the dead.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer... more
  2. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You can sue for defemation. There could be defenses though.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases.... more
  3. Gregory Scott Gennarelli

    Pro

    Contributor Level 14

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I'm sorry for your loss and for the circumstances which led to the question. Unfortunately, my understanding is a bit different, that only the defamed person has the right to bring a cause of action for Defamation in NY . See Rose v. Daily Mirror, Inc., 284 N.Y. 335,337 (1940). In that case, which i believe is still good law, the court held that to allow the survivors to recover for defamation of the dead in this situation would be a “far-reaching” departure from New York’s long-standing law. I suggest that you speak with someone who handles defamation cases in the jurisdiction you seek to bring an action as the laws , and their interpretations, can differ.

  4. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need to talk with a New York lawyer than handles defamation. Beware that the news media here in the US has the benefit of several legal defenses. Look for an attorney right here at www.avvo.com

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  5. Susan Pernick

    Contributor Level 15

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . A claim for libel ends with of the person who libeled your son. There's no cause of action for the hurt you suffered;

    Do not respond in kind: don't make slanderous statements about the reporters or police involved. Any false and defamatory statements made about them will give them a basis for suing you.

    If you still have doubts, and still want to sue, you should consider having a consult with a lawyer familiar with defamation law. Although the story is about Canada, I believe that any suit should be started in NY, as that is where the allegedly slanderous statement was made.

    I am an attorney admitted solely in NY. None of the answers I submit on this forum constitutes legal advice,... more

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