Indian Tribes Can’t Sue for Libel, Just as Other Government Entities Can’t
From Cayuga Nation v. Showtime Networks Inc., decided yesterday by the New York intermediate appellate court (Judges Barbara R. Kapnick, Troy K. Webber, Angela M. Mazzarelli & Jeffrey K. Oing):
Plaintiffs allege that in an episode of the television series Billions they were falsely portrayed as having been involved in an illegal casino land deal, bribery of a public official, and blackmail. To the extent asserted by plaintiff Cayuga Nation, their claims were correctly dismissed on the ground that a governmental entity cannot maintain a libel claim. Contrary to Cayuga Nation’s contention, First Amendment principles are applicable to cases involving libel claims arising from fictional works of entertainment…. While plaintiffs argue that Native American tribes are a unique kind of government entity, they do not explain how that uniqueness bears on the libel analysis at issue.
The claims asserted by plaintiff Halftown were also correctly dismissed. Supreme Court correctly found that the allegedly defama
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