Woodstock Times settles two libel cases

Tai Burnette interview – she won two libel lawsuits against the Woodstock Times group of newspapers.

RELATED, below | Interview with Joseph LaLima, a barber in Kingston, NY, who was also libeled by the Woodstock Times group (by author Jesse Smith). The newspaper said he gave “covid” to 12 cops, which was used by then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make a huge fuss (on international news). He then had LaLima’s barber license revoked — all from one article published in the Kingston Times.

The Woodstock Times group has settled two multimillion dollar libel cases against former Woodstock gallery owner Tai Burnette. The cases related to a 2016 advertisement by Burnett’s former housekeeper (see below), and a subsequent article that destroyed Burnett’s deal to buy the historic Bearsville Theater complex.

Eric Francis

The second commission of libel happened while the first was being litigated — an incredibly rare event, indicating to the newspaper’s insurance carrier, Utica Mutual, that the paper was out to get the story subject and intentionally trying to defame her.

This resulted in a 16-page letter from the insurance company’s attorneys attempting to deny coverage (called a Reservation of Rights letter). In the end, the case was settled for an undisclosed sum. The original two lawsuits totaled $8 million in claims.

This recording is an interview with Tai Burnette. Additional resources will be added Friday; here is a full file related to my case.

Libel, also called defamation of character, is the civil offense (called a tort) of making an intentionally untrue statement about a person in print. It is easy to mitigate, with a prompt correction and an apology — but because the act is intentional, that is unlikely to happen. Libel is a difficult claim to litigate, and American courts tend to not like it, in part owing to the presumption of free speech, and the difficulty proving a claim.

This interview, in the works since August, will give you much to think about. The libelous advertisement is below.

The libelous ad.
Section of discussion with Dan Barton, editor of Kingston Times, where he admits that the story went to press before I had any opportunity to respond to his claims.

KEYWORDS: Geddy Sveikauskas, Daniel Barton, Jesse Smith, Joe LaLima, Brian Hollander, Woodstock Times, Ulster Publishing Company.

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