NY Daily News Slapped With Defamation Suit Over Photo
BROOKLYN (CN) - The New York Daily News defamed an innocent man by publishing his photo atop an article about a dentist who pleaded guilty to bilking Medicaid for $500,000, the pictured man claims in court.
Leon Farhi claims an article published on the daily's website on Aug. 13 included his picture below the headline, "Crooked Brooklyn Dentist Lawrence Bruckner Pleads Guilty to Bilking Medicaid."
Below his photo, the caption again repeated the allegations against Bruckner, wrongfully implying to the publication's large readership that Farhi was the scamming dentist, Farhi claims in Kings County Supreme Court.
The article states that Bruckner agreed to pay $700,000 in restitution for allegedly paying recruits $25 to $30 to scour homeless shelters, soup kitchens and the streets for Medicaid patients he could use to file the fraudulent claims.
"The language published in the news article in conjunction with the use of the plaintiff's photograph in the news article meant and intended to mean that the plaintiff had committed the crime of Medicaid fraud," Farhi claims.
He says his picture remained online until Aug. 24, and the article was picked up by other sources, including Google and RUNY web, an online publications of USA in Russian Inc.
Farhi claims the Daily News "knew or with the exercise of reasonable care could have ascertained" that it had labeled the wrong man as a crook.
He's suing for injuries from the "public scorn, hatred, contempt and ridicule" he claims he suffered as a result.
His attorney is Samuel Weissman of the Law Office of Jack Israel.