Michel v. NYP Holdings, Inc., No. 15-11453 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Rapper and philanthropist Prakazrel Michel, and founding member of the Fugees, filed a defamation suit alleging that an article published about him in the New York Post's Page Six gossip column claimed that he failed to perform as expected as the headliner at a 9/11 charity event for the Hope for Them Foundation with which he was purportedly affiliated. Michel contends that the article defamed him because he had no connection to the Foundation and had not been scheduled to perform at the event. The district court dismissed the claims with prejudice. This court also dismissed the complaint, but for different reasons. The court concluded that the article is not privileged against a defamation action because a reasonable reader of the article would have concluded that it presented statements of fact (not just nonactionable opinion). However, Michel has failed to state a claim because he did not adequately plead facts giving rise to a reasonable inference that defendants published the article with actual malice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal but entered the dismissal without prejudice, giving leave to amend.