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Telnikoff v. Matsuevitch

347 Md. 561, 702 A.2d 230 (1997)

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Telnikoff v. Matsuevitch

Maryland Court of Appeals

347 Md. 561, 702 A.2d 230 (1997)

Facts

Journalist Vladimir Telkinoff (defendant) wrote a newspaper article published in England that criticized the British Broadcasting Corporation’s radio-broadcast reports to Russians. Vladimir Matsuevitch (plaintiff), another journalist, wrote a letter responding to Telnikoff’s article, which was published in the newspaper. Matsuevitch’s letter accused Telnikoff of advocating racialism, anti-Semitism, and racial discrimination. Telnikoff filed a libel action against Matsuevitch in the English High Court of Justice. Telnikoff, a known journalist for a public radio station, was a public figure. The case was resolved in Telnikoff’s favor without any evidence that Matsuevitch’s letter was false or that Matsuevitch acted with actual malice. Telnikoff tried and failed to have the judgment against Matsuevitch enforced in the United States. Matsuevitch filed suit in federal court, and the district court entered a judgment in favor of Matsuevitch. The district court found that the cause of action for libel was repugnant to Maryland public policy and recognizing the foreign award would be repugnant to the policies of both Maryland and the United States. Telnikoff appealed. Following oral arguments, the appellate court certified to the Maryland Court of Appeals the question of whether judicial recognition of Telnikoff’s judgment would be repugnant to Maryland public policy. Telnikoff argued that the English judgment must be recognized under the principles of comity, and Matsuevitch asserted that the judgment was repugnant to state and national public policy and should not be recognized.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Eldridge, J.)

Dissent (Chasanow, J.)

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