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Plaintiff Contends Gross Negligence by Newspaper Reporter


The case is about a libel suit filed by the Turkish national against the publisher, together with its managing director and other investigative reporters, for the republication into a book pertaining to several newspaper articles regarding worldwide narcotic trade covering several continents. A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the plaintiff claimed that such articles were allegedly false and defamatory where he was named as a specialist drug criminal smuggler in his country. He further averred that the printed allegations against him were untrue, which caused damaged to his reputation as a legitimate businessman and he was gravely injured by the wrongful accusations written about him.

In 1973, a series of newspaper articles about the international drug crime of heroin possession and smuggling trade were published that merited public recognition and a prize from a recognized award-giving body. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the newspaper articles were then converted into a book through the efforts of the defendant publishing company.

The action filed against the newspaper company by the plaintiff was dismissed by the court because the cause of action had already prescribed. No appeal was made by the Turkish national. But the libel case filed by the plaintiff against the publishing firm was not dismissed since it was not barred by the statute of limitations.

Based on the accounts of the parties, the plaintiff stated that the reporters committed “gross negligence” in the conduct of their investigations as to his purported involvement in the drug smuggling crime. Several affidavits were executed by the witnesses of the appellant duly recognizing him as a reputable businessman in his country. A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said on the side of the accused reporters, they enumerated to intricate and grueling procedures and methods they conducted to be able to arrive at the accurate facts of their story about the international drug crimes.

Taking into account that the articles in issue are of public concern, the Court noted in one case cited that “the statements, even if false, cannot lead to liability unless it is proven by a fair preponderance of the evidence that its publishers ‘acted in a grossly irresponsible manner without due consideration for the standards of information gathering and dissemination ordinarily followed by responsible parties.’” In likewise manner, if the publishers were found to be grossly negligent in the conduct in their report investigation, then they will be held liable for libel.

Due to the failure of the plaintiff to establish with preponderance of evidence as to his claim of the existence of gross negligence made by the reporters, the Court dismissed the causes of action filed against them. With the same tenor, the libel suit filed against the managing director was also dismissed by the court absent of any showing by the Turkish national that the defendant acted with a wanton disregard of diligence in the conducted of his duties as the managing director of the republished newspaper articles. The normal practice in journalism, as a rule, is that editors consider the reports by their journalists to be legitimate and truthful absent any showing or proof that would establish them otherwise. In practice, editors are not tasked to verify the truthfulness of the reporter’s work.

The Court applied the pronouncements in jurisprudence, which stated that, as newspaper company, “standard of ‘gross irresponsibility’ demands no more than that a publisher utilize methods of verification that are reasonably calculated to produce accurate copy.” And, a Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said that as publisher, “that a company or concern which simply republishes a work is entitled to place its reliance upon the research of the original publisher, absent a showing that the republisher had, or should have had, substantial reasons to question the accuracy of the articles or the bona fides of (the) reporter.”

The allegations made by the plaintiff were bare allegations and mere speculations that failed to establish the quantum of evidence to prove the indeed the defendants acted with gross irresponsibility in publishing the news articles. In fact, there was no specific proof proffered by the Turkish national that could clearly prove his claims of grave misconduct committed by the publisher, managing editor and reporters.

By reason of the foregoing, the court affirmed the dismissal of the libel suit filed by the plaintiff.

False accusations and libels are serious offenses that need the legal assistance of a drug attorney to minimize, if not eliminate, the damage it could cause on the reputation of the defamed individual. Stephen Bilkis and Associates have criminal lawyers who you can hire to handle any potential public scandals that may ensue during the course of the court trials and proceedings.

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