New Yorker Libel Case Can Move Forward, Judge Rules

A portion of the libel suit filed by forensic art expert Peter Paul Biro was dismissed, however

Last Updated: August 10, 2012 @ 6:15 PM

A federal judge in New York ruled that forensic art expert Peter Paul Biro's $2 million libel suit against the New Yorker can move forward, though he dismissed a portion of the suit, according to court documents obtained by TheWrap.

In June 2011, Biro claimed New Yorker staffer David Grann's lengthy 2010 article about art authentification unfairly damaged his reputation because Grann questioned his methods for matching artist's fingerprints to paintings.

Judge J. Paul Oetken decided on Tuesday to throw out several of Biro's charges against the Advance Publications-owned magazine and its writer, but granted him the chance to argue in court that a few parts of the story libeled him.

"The Article as a whole does not make express accusations against Biro, or suggest concrete conclusions about whether or not he is a fraud. Rather, it lays out evidence that may raise questions, and allows the reader to make up his or her own mind," the judge wrote. "At the same time, there can be little doubt that even a publication that, on the whole, merely raises questions has the potential to have serious consequences on a plaintiff's reputation."

The New Yorker did not immediately respond to requests from TheWrap for comment. But in a statement to the New York Times, the magazine said it believed the rest of the case would be dismissed soon.

"We are gratified that Judge Oetken has already dismissed the vast bulk of Mr. Biro's claims, and we are confident that we will prevail."

Biro did not respond to calls and emails for comment.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.