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Saturday, April 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mom Says Inquirer Took a Cheap Shot

PHILADELPHIA (CN) - A single mother of six claims the Philadelphia Inquirer defamed her by reporting that her children were "malnourished and starving" and printing a photo of one of her kids as the "poster child" for starving children, in an effort to "boost their market share and increase their revenues ... while attempting to avoid bankruptcy."

Michelle Brodie sued the Inquirer and reporter Alfred Lubrano in City Court. She claims the newspaper used a picture of one of her kids as the "poster child" of starving children for a story on a summer meals program, and interviewed two of her children without her permission.

"The article left the impression (as intended by the Inquirer) that Ms. Brodie is a terrible mother who is unable to care for her children," the complaint states.

"Defendants concocted their article solely to capitalize on the fear and emotion surrounding starving children in an effort to boost their market share and increase their revenues in the month of June, while attempting to avoid bankruptcy."

Lubrano's story focused on the federally funded summer meals program in Philadelphia. Brodie says Lubrano interviewed her two children at one of meal program sites while a photographer snapped photos.

"Rather than obtain consent and determine the correctness of Ms. Brodie's minor children's alleged statements, Defendants Lubrano and the Inquirer embarked upon an effort to trump up a story and exploit unfairly plaintiff's inability to comment upon or otherwise publicly defend her actions and care for her children," Brodie says.

She demands $50,000 for each of two counts of defamation and invasion of privacy.

She also seeks to "set the record straight and vindicate her reputation in the community."

Brodie is represented by Scott Sigman with Sigman Rochlin.

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