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Matherson v. Marchello

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division
473 N.Y.S.2d 998 (1984)


Facts

During a radio interview, members of the band The Good Rats (defendants) made remarks about Matherson (plaintiff), including that they used to “fool around with his wife.” A member of the band also said of Matherson that “it was when somebody started messing around with his boyfriend that he really freaked out.” Mr. and Mrs. Matherson sued The Good Rats and their record company, claiming that the two statements were defamatory and seeking compensatory and punitive damages for humiliation, mental anguish, loss of reputation, injury to their marriage, and loss of customers, business opportunities, and professional good will. The trial court granted The Good Rats’ motion to dismiss, finding that the statements were not susceptible to any defamatory meaning, and that the Mathersons had failed to plead special damages in their complaint.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Titone, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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