OLD Media Moves

Court ruling may keep business owners from talking to media

May 21, 2009

Martin Daks of NJBIZ.com writes about a recent court ruling that some believe may make business owners think twice about talking to the business media.

Daks reports that a restaurant owner was quoted in a New Jersey paper about his treatment of employees, and then a reader posted a comment. The owner sued the reader for defamation.

Daks writes, “But when Doherty agreed to the newspaper interview, ‘which he knew would be published, would be distributed globally via the Internet and would open him to public criticism for his comments,’ the restaurant owner ‘exposed both himself and his business entity to public criticism,’ according to Essex County Superior Court Judge Donald Goldman’s May 7 ruling, which blocked Doherty’s efforts to win a summary judgment, or a favorable decision without going to trial.

“The courts generally make it tougher for so-called public figures — typically politicians — to prove defamation, the judge noted in the ruling.

“The two sides eventually reached a confidential settlement, according to a lawyer who represented Doherty in the case.”

Read more here.

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