This matter was commenced by a well-known pet cemetery in Westchester County which had removed and disposed of the remains of a dog belonging to our client, without her knowledge.
In early January of 2000, arrangements were made for the interment of our client’s pet at a pet cemetery located in Hartsdale, New York. Unbeknownst to our client, however, in 2007, her pet was disinterred and disposed of by the cemetery. Hoping to prevent others from suffering from similar occurrences in the future, she wrote an article on her personal webpage explaining what happened to her pet. In January of 2009, the pet cemetery commenced a $10 million defamation action against her for the statements written in her article.
We were retained to defend our client in the multi-million dollar lawsuit and we moved for the immediate dismissal of the case on a number of grounds, including lack of jurisdiction, failure to state a cause of action, lack of standing, and expiration of the statute of limitations. We argued that there was no jurisdiction in New York over our client (a New Jersey resident) on a defamation claim arising from an article published on the internet. New York law generally does not permit an action for defamation to be brought against an out-of-state resident using its long-arm statute. Although our client contracted to bury her dog at the cemetery located in New York, we argued that the contract was not a proper basis for holding jurisdiction over our client for the defamation action.
The Honorable Mary M. Smith agreed with our arguments and granted our motion and dismissed the $10 million lawsuit against our client.