January 18, 2017
Partner Lee S. Brenner was interviewed regarding the dismissal of Hill V. Cosby in the Pennsylvania Record article “Defamation case against Bill Cosby dismissed by federal appeals court.” The article addresses the claims Renita Hill filed against Bill Cosby, and why her claims for defamation and emotional distress were dismissed.
“In the Hill v. Cosby case, there were three allegedly defamatory statements,” said Brenner. “However, to prevail on a claim for defamation, a plaintiff must prove the intentional publication of a statement of fact that is false, unprivileged, and has a natural tendency to injure or which causes special damage.”
The statements allegedly were made by both Cosby, his wife and his attorney. Hill argued that the statements implied that she had lied and was extorting Cosby. In this case, the Third Circuit found that Hill did not meet the criteria necessary to prove defamation, as the three statements in question were not actionable as a matter of law.
“The court’s decision was reasonable and based upon well-established law,” added Brenner. “One truth about defamation claims is that they often arise in factual scenarios that are far from ideal. However, protecting our First Amendment principles could not be more important.”
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