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Defamation lawsuit explores the idea of public hearing ‘immunity’

HARTFORD, Conn. – Connecticut courts have never had to decide whether a member of the public, who is testifying at a legislative hearing, can defame another person without consequences. But a judge may soon get a chance to clarify the issue.

Last month a Hartford Superior Court judge refused to throw out a defamation lawsuit filed by a South Windsor company against the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts and its president, David Fay, for statements Fay made during a 2011 public hearing.

Judge Trial Referee Jerry Wagner said in a March 12 decision that he couldn’t decide the case because there was an issue as to when Fay had made defamatory statements against TicketNetwork. Was it during the General Law Committee’s public hearing or on the phone with a Journal Inquirer reporter?

Wagner’s decision to allow the case to move forward to trial boiled down to whether Fay’s statements to the Journal Inquirer — which published articles on the legislation and the public hearing — were from an interview with a reporter, or paraphrased from the transcript of the public hearing available on the legislature’s website.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

 

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One response to “Defamation lawsuit explores the idea of public hearing ‘immunity’”

  1. Oldtimer

    Does this mean that certain threats to sue if certain facts were revealed, during a public hearing before the council, were bluffs ? Or, could it be the elected official making the threats, was unaware of the law ?

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