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Daily News ‘Update’ Wasn’t Enough, Man Says

MANHATTAN (CN) - A man claims The New York Daily News defamed him in a story headlined "I loved my job before all this happened." Brian Ellis claims the News reported, falsely, that he had sexually assaulted a coworker at Bellevue Hospital, and refused to remove the story from its website even after the district attorney did not find the woman's claims credible.

Ellis claims the News defamed him in its Sept. 21, 2009 story, which claimed that he had grabbed co-worker Anna Martinez's breasts, pushed her against a wall and grabbed her by the neck to kiss her.

Martinez made the same claims to the district attorney, but Ellis says the district attorney "questioned the veracity of Ms. Martinez's claims" and refused to go forward with the case.

"At the time the defendant published the defamatory article, the defendant knew that the veracity of Ms. Martinez's claims was being seriously questioned and that there was tremendous doubt about the truth of her claims," Ellis says in his complaint. "Despite this knowledge, defendant failed to take the proper steps to ascertain the accuracy of the Ms. Martinez's claims, and instead published it with reckless disregard of whether it was true or not.

"The defendant published the article maliciously, with intent to injure the plaintiff in his character and reputation."

After the article was published, Ellis says, the district attorney dismissed and sealed the claims against him. But even after his attorney notified the Daily News of the district attorney's action and asked the paper to remove the article from its website, the paper refused, according to the complaint.

Instead, Ellis says, the Daily News published a follow-up article stating that there was insufficient evidence and that the charges against him were dropped.

"Since this 'update' did not address the fact the district attorney chose not to prosecute the action because it did not find Ana Martinez's claims credible, future employers are still left with the false impression that plaintiff may have sexually assaulted her, and as such, the 'update' has not affected the negative and false impressions of plaintiff that are created by this defamatory article," the complaint states.

Ellis wants the article removed from the paper's website and damages for defamation, humiliation, stress, depression and anxiety. He is represented by Adam Stengel.

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