Sometimes in reading the cases handed down by the Courts I come across a statute which I never knew existed. This happened last week in reading McRedmond v Sutton Place Rest. & Bar, Inc., 2008 NY Slip Op 01086. The statute is an important one that fellow blawgers out there might want to take note of and remember. The statute is Civil Rights Law section 74, entitled – Privileges in action for libel. It provides:
A civil action cannot be maintained against any person, firm or corporation, for the publication of a fair and true report of any judicial proceeding, legislative proceeding or other official proceeding, or for any heading of the report which is a fair and true headnote of the statement published. This section does not apply to a libel contained in any other matter added by any person concerned in the publication; or in the report of anything said or done at the time and place of such a proceeding which was not a part thereof.
As noted by the Court in McRedmond, to be “fair and true,” the account need only be “substantially accurate.” So, blawgers such as this writer can be comforted in knowing that that in summarizing important appellate decision, a defamation action cannot be maintained. If you are a blawger you might want to remember this statute.