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Peter Paul Biro

This Thursday, on August 8, 2013, New York Federal Court Judge J. Paul Oetken dismissed Peter Paul Biro’s libel case against Conde Nast and several other media parties.  Biro brought a $2 million claim against Conde Nast after they published a 16,000 word article in The New Yorker about Biro, titled “The Mark of a Masterpiece: The Man Who Keeps Finding Famous Fingerprints on Uncelebrated Works of Art.”

Judge Oetken discharged Biro’s claim on the grounds that he failed to prove “actual malice,” which according to his interpretation “does not simply connote ill will or spite” like one would hear in a schoolyard.  Yet, must imply “deliberate or reckless falsification.”

Oetken wrote in his opinion: “Not only has Biro failed to provide factual allegations rendering it plausible that the New Yorker Defendants acted with actual malice, but there is evidence in the record suggesting that it is implausible that they acted with the requisite intent — most notably, the Grann Article itself.”

The New Yorker issued a statement noting: “We are delighted that the judge dismissed this meritless lawsuit against David Grann and Conde Nast. We have always maintained complete confidence in David’s meticulous reporting for his July 2010 piece, ‘The Mark of a Masterpiece.’ It is a brilliant piece of journalism and, as the Judge noted in his opinion, the article ‘appears to be the product of an enormous amount of careful and diligent research.'”

For our previous coverage visit and a more detailed analysis visit: “What’s in a Name?” Peter Paul Biro v. Conde Nast for Defamation

Sources: “Judge Rejects Art Expert’s New Yorker Lawsuit,” ArtINFO, August 2, 2013; “Forensic Art Expert’s Libel Case Against New Yorker Magazine Dismissed,” The New York Times, August 2, 2013.