New York Defamation Case Hinges on Actual-Malice Fault Standard
Participated in an amicus brief (with the Reporters Committee and other amici) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Coleman v. Grand, a defamation case. Plaintiff-Appellant Coleman, a prominent jazz musician, sued aspiring musician María Kim Grand in a U.S. district court concerning comments she made in a letter to friends and colleagues about their personal and professional relationship. The district court sided with Grand, applying the actual-malice fault standard under New York’s anti-SLAPP law, and Coleman appealed. The amicus brief argues that the actual-malice fault standard is applicable in federal court, as it is substantive state law and does not conflict with any federal rule. The brief also explains that, under Second Circuit precedent, the court need not consider the anti-SLAPP law as a whole, but only the specific actual-malice fault provision applied by the district court.