Entertainment Law Reporter
September 2006 Volume 28 Number 4

Appeals court reinstates defamation claim filed against Boston Magazine by teenager whose photograph accompanied article on teen sexuality

A teenage girl has won the right to a trial – or at least “further proceedings” – in a defamation lawsuit she filed against Boston Magazine complaining of a 2003 article on the sexuality and promiscuity of Boston-area teenagers. The offending article was accompanied by a large photograph that showed the teenager and other students at a high school prom dressed like adults and drinking and smoking.

A federal District Court had dismissed the case, in response to the magazine’s motion for summary judgment, on the grounds that the photo’s caption stated that those pictured were unrelated to the people or events in the article (ELR 27:2:16).

The Court of Appeals reversed. It held that the juxtaposition of the photo and the text of the article were reasonably susceptible of defamatory meaning, and thus the case should not have been dismissed on summary judgment.

Stanton v. Metro Corp., 438 F.3d 119 ,  2006 U.S. App. LEXIS 4306 (1st Cir. 2006 )