30 November 2009
25 November 2009
24 November 2009
Insurer Must Defend 'Douche' Defamation Suit, Judge Says
Calling someone a "douche" may be bad manners but it does not give an insurance company grounds to disavow a policy protecting against defamation claims, a state judge has ruled. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith J. Gische ruled that because calling someone a "douche" or "douche bag" is an opinion, not a statement of provable fact, the Graphic Arts Mutual Insurance Co. must pay the legal costs of public relations firm owner Drew Kerr, who was sued by a rival.
The insurance coverage dispute arose after Kerr, according to an affidavit he submitted, sought to criticize a technique used by a competitor, Ronn Torossian. Mimicking Torossian's practice of purchasing domain names containing the names of competitors, Kerr purchased the domain "www.ronntorossianpr." On the site was posted a photo of a package of "Summer's Eve Douche." Torossian's company, 5W Public Relations, according to its Web site, is the 21st largest public relations firm in the nation.
"To the extent that Mr. Kerr's action implied a statement that Mr. Torossian was "a 'douche' or 'douche bag,'" Gische wrote in Four Corners Communications Inc. v. Graphic Arts Mutual Insurance Company, 601166/09, it is an opinion which "is not capable of being proven false." Based on that finding, Gische found that the insurance company could not rely on a provision of the policy exempting defamation coverage of statements made "with knowledge of falsity."
21 November 2009
19 November 2009
18 November 2009
17 November 2009
09 November 2009
coming home late night after a saturday sunset park bowling adventure, we took our usual route down smith street. carroll gardens, as many of you know, is an old italian neighborhood, after being irish for a time, then norwegian - longshoreman, mostly, what with the nearness of the heavily-trafficked port of brooklyn, not to mention the industrial wasteland of the gowanus canal. there are a number of italian social clubs, though not as many as there once were. the doors of these clubs tend to be manned by barrel-chested, cigar-smoking beefcakes. who knows what goes on behind the heavily-curtained windows, but it likely has something to do with waste management. this is not the kind of place you mess around - which reminds me, i wonder how these halloween vandals are doing.
but i digress. it was midnight on smith street. we emerged from the subway to a large cadre of italians emerging from a local restaurant, faces flush with drink, their hearty laughs and cigar smoke filling the brisk fall air. breaking off from the group, a woman with a cane gingerly made her way towards the open door of a mammoth SUV. being that i spent a few months last year on crutches and canes, i'm sensitive to the particular plights of the cane-bound. i made my way to give her a hand and close the door behind her. suddenly the men from the group surrounded me. HEY!! LOOK AT THIS GENTLEMAN! WHAT A FINE MAN, HELPING THIS WOMAN! SO COURTEOUS!! SO CHIVALROUS! as they shouted, these large, drunk italians grabbed me by the shoulders, shook my hands, embraced me. i was mobbed by the mob. the husband of the woman happily demanded why i would dare to make him look bad in front of his old lady. they pulled kathryn aside and advised her to marry me immediately. they howled and hooted like wild things.
we walked on, marveling at the midnight magic, at the unforgettable adventures that new york city presses upon you, at the ecstatic night filled with wine-soaked laughter and the lingering scent of overly-cologned italians.