• New York Court of Appeals Clarifies Scope of Protection for Attorney Statements Made Prior to Start of Lawsuit - Front v. Khalil:  New York’s Highest Court Holds That Pre-Litigation Statements Made by Attorneys Cannot be the Subject of Defamation Claims Unless the Statements Were “Not Pertinent to a Good-Faith Anticipated Litigation”
  • April 1, 2015 | Authors: David H. Braff; Robert J. Giuffra; William B. Monahan; Sharon L. Nelles; Joseph E. Neuhaus
  • Law Firm: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - New York Office
  • On February 24, 2015, the Court of Appeals of New York resolved a split among New York’s intermediate appellate courts over whether attorneys can be liable for defamation for their statements prior to the commencement of a lawsuit. The Court ruled that, unlike statements made by attorneys during the course of litigation - which are protected by an absolute privilege that applies irrespective of the attorney’s motive - pre-litigation statements are subject to a qualified privilege. Under this qualified privilege, attorneys will not be subject to a claim for defamation for pre-suit statements they make and that they communicate to third parties if those statements are “pertinent to a good-faith anticipated litigation.”