P&N DEFAMATION LAW UPDATE: Thin Skin in the Fashion Industry–Supreme NY Just Not Feeling It

Marianne Nestor Cassini, the widow of fashion designer Oleg Cassini, sued the well known magazine Vanity Fair, to recover damages for libel and infliction of emotional distress based on an article published in the September 2010 issue revealing her relationship with her deceased husband. The article’s statement that Marianne did not “figure into the equation,” and suggestion that she was a “nobody,” because she merely was available if Oleg Cassini and his mistress and editor “needed pencils sharpened,” were found to be opinion, which does not furnish a basis for a defamation claim. The court noted that the article disclosed the source of the statement and did not suggest that it was premised on any undisclosed facts. The court also determined that the characterization of Marianne and her sisters throwing parties for wealthy older men “looking for action,” in the context of the whole article did not suggest she was a prostitute or suggest that she engaged in unchaste behavior. The case was dismissed.

The full decision is found at the following link: http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/3dseries/2013/2013_51553.htm

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