(CN) – The New York Post is not liable for defamation despite an inaccuracy in its rewrite of a Los Angeles Times story about rocker Ozzy Osborne’s former physician, the New York Court of Appeals ruled.
The Times story described Osborne’s allegations that his former physician had overprescribed medication to him during his appearance on the MTV reality series “The Osbornes.”
The New York Post condensed the information from the 98-paragraph article into an eight-paragraph story that appeared on page 24 of its Dec. 3, 2003, edition.
However, the Post erroneously reported that the Dr. David Kipper’s license had been revoked by the California Medical Board. Actually, the Times reported that the board has “moved to revoke” the license.
In order to prevail in his case against the Post, Kipper had to prove actual malice: knowledge that the statement was false or made with reckless disregard for whether it was true.
The trial court denied the Post’s motion for summary judgment, but an appellate division ruled that the case should be dismissed.
Judge Ciparik of the state appeals court agreed.
“Other than the fact that the rewrite contains erroneous statements,” Ciparik wrote, “there is no evidence that anyone at the Post set out to falsely defame plaintiff in this instance, or other individuals regularly, to increase its sales.”