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Yonaty v. Mincolla

Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York
97 A.D.3d 141 (2012)


Facts

Jean Mincolla (defendant) was told by a third party that Mark Yonaty (plaintiff) was gay or bisexual. Mincolla then relayed that information to Ruthanne Koffman (defendant), who was a close family friend of Yonaty’s long-time girlfriend, in the hopes that the information would be passed on to Yonaty’s girlfriend. Yonaty filed suit against Mincolla for slander, intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), and prima facie tort. Mincolla then filed a third-party action against Koffman, seeking indemnification based upon the republication of the statements. Yonaty claimed that the false statements made by Mincolla had directly caused the deterioration and termination of his relationship with his girlfriend. The trial court dismissed Yonaty’s IIED and prima facie tort claims. However, following precedent, the trial court held that the statements falsely imputing homosexuality constituted defamation per se, and thus did not dismiss Yonaty’s slander claim. The parties cross-appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mercure, J.)

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