Harrington & Rodriguez Secure Dismissal of Defamation Case
Chairman William P. Harrington and Partner Adam Rodriguez recently secured a complete victory in a defamation case among rival cell phone companies.
The plaintiff, Red Pocket Inc., alleged that our clients US Mobile and its founder/CEO made defamatory comments about Red Pocket on a mobile phone services podcast, and sought $2.5 million in damages.
We filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the Complaint should be dismissed because Red Pocket failed to plead a statement that is defamatory on its face. In addition, we argued that the Complaint was barred under New York’s single instance rule. Under the rule, language charging a plaintiff with ignorance or mistake on a single occasion only, and not accusing general incompetence, or lack of basic integrity or creditworthiness, cannot be considered defamatory on its face and so is not actionable unless special damages are pleaded.
In a thorough decision, Judge Linda S. Jamieson of the N.Y. Supreme Court Commercial division agreed with our arguments, and dismissed the complaint filed against our clients in its entirety.
Mr. Harrington is Chairman of the Firm’s Executive Committee. He is the head of the Litigation and Toxic Tort/Complex Litigation Practice Groups. Mr. Harrington is an experienced trial attorney who has represented Fortune 500 companies in criminal, commercial, environmental, civil rights, real estate, gaming and employment discrimination matters. His clients have included major oil companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, racetracks/casinos, financial institutions and significant regional companies in all aspects of complex environmental, toxic tort and commercial litigation. Mr. Harrington also represents both municipalities and developers in all phases of land use development and related litigation.
Mr. Rodriguez focuses his practice in the areas of commercial litigation, municipal law, intellectual property and real estate. He currently serves as the Yorktown Town Attorney, acting as legal counsel to the Town, its elected officials, department heads, and its various boards. Before joining Bleakley Platt, Mr. Rodriguez was the Director of Real Estate for Westchester County, where he negotiated complex commercial real estate transactions valued at over $100 million. Prior to his appointment as Director of Real Estate, Mr. Rodriguez defended the County of Westchester in one of the highest-profile HUD enforcement actions in United States history. He has also served as a law clerk to two federal judges, and worked as a litigator at a large law firm in New York City.