Q&A: Small-claims suit against paper


From an attorney in Goshen:

Q: A small claims lawsuit has been filed seeking money from newspaper. The plaintiff is trying to hold the newspaper responsible for money lost when he responded to what turned out to be a fraudulent ad. Can you point me to court rulings that would help the newspaper?

A: Reckless or malicious publication of false advertising can create legal problems for a publisher, but when the publisher is without knowledge of the intent of the advertiser it cannot be held responsible.

See Suarez v. Underwood, 103 Misc.2d 445 (Second Dept. 1981) or Vail v. Oneida Dispatch Corp., 129 Misc.2d 477 (Sup. Ct., Oneida Co., 1985).

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.