The Southern District of New York, in an opinion written by Judge J. Paul Oetken, has dismissed a claim for defamation by Peter Paul Biro against Art F City’s Paddy Johnson. The blog post cited in Biro’s complaint had quoted passages from a David Grann article originally published in the New Yorker.
The Court ruled that Biro was a limited purpose public figure and that he had not sufficiently pled actual malice, which requires “deliberate or reckless falsification,” as against Paddy Johnson. The Court explained that AFC’s refusal to retract the blog post was insufficient in this context to plead actual malice and additionally stated:
The claim that Paddy Johnson acted with actual malice is particularly implausible, given that, as the Johnson Article itself notes, she published a piece before the publication of the Grann Article that implicitly credited Biro’s work. […] Given the New Yorker’s reputation and the nature of the Grann Article, it is far more likely that the Grann Article caused Johnson to reevaluate her opinion of Biro than that the Johnson Article contains content that she knew to be, or believed might well be, false.
The Court also ruled that Biro failed to state a claim against Advance Magazine Publishers, Inc. and David Grann, as well as against other defendants.
When asked about the ruling Paddy Johnson told AFC offices, “I’m very happy.”