In Re: Philadelphia Newspapers, No. 11-3257 (3d Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
Philadelphia Inquirer (debtors) published print and online articles discussing the CSMI‘s contract management of the Chester Community Charter School. After CSMI filed a defamation action, the Inquirer filed for relief under Chapter 11, 11 U.S.C. 101. CSMI alleged that post-petition, debtors published an article that links to and endorses earlier articles and filed the administrative expense requests: $1,800,000 for alleged post-petition defamation and $147,140 in alleged damages for post-petition conduct and prosecution of claims against CSMI. The Bankruptcy Court denied the requests. Debtors conducted an auction of substantially all assets, and the sale was consummated under a plan that provided that the purchaser would assume certain administrative expense claims, not including claims arising from the CSMI’s administrative expense requests. The district court held that an appeal was equitably moot: the plan had been substantially consummated and no stay was sought. The court also stated that merely posting a link to the charter school webpage that contained the original articles was not distinct tortious conduct upon which a defamation claim can be grounded. The Third Circuit affirmed. While the appeal was not equitably moot, CSMI cannot advance a sustainable cause of action to support the requests.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on October 25, 2012.