Update: On Jan. 23, 2020, the New York Appellate Division, First Judicial Department, ruled in favor of WPIX and affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment. The court determined, as the Reporters Committee argued in its friend-of-the-court brief, that a media organization cannot be held liable for failing to issue a timely correction.
Reporters Committee attorneys filed an amicus brief in Rainbow v. WPIX, a defamation case in the New York Appellate Division, First Department. The case concerns a news report about a public school teacher accused of bullying. The story used the wrong first name for the teacher, and the person whose name appeared by mistake sued. She argues that WPIX should be liable for failing to consult an official or authoritative source and for failing to issue a timely correction. The trial court granted summary judgment to WPIX, and the teacher appealed. The amicus brief argues that New York’s “grossly irresponsible” standard requires only reliable sources, not official ones. And the brief provides several reasons that the plaintiff’s novel theory of failure-to-correct liability should not be adopted.