|Negative Review of Restaurant Food Not Basis for Defamation Suit|
|Description||Nevada high court held that because a restaurant is a public figure for purposes of food service, actual malice would have to be shown on the part of a newspaper that published a negative review of the restaurant's food. Otherwise, the review is a matter of protected opinion.|
|Key Words||Defamation; Restaurant Review; Public Figure; Malice|
|C A S E S U M M A R Y|
|Facts||The owners of a restaurant in Nevada sued a newspaper, the Reno Gazette-Journal (RGJ), for defamation for publishing a negative review of the restaurant. A freelance journalist wrote the review. The district court granted summary judgment to RGJ, concluding that the review was a statement of opinion about a public figure for the limited purpose of a food review and that actual malice had not been shown. The restaurant owners appealed.|
Affirmed. Material published in such a review is not automatically a protected opinion, but this review was. It commented on the restaurant's food, which is the purpose of such reviews. The restaurant is a public figure for a limited purpose-exposure in the community as to its food service. As a limited-purpose public figure, the restaurant would have to show actual malice on the part of the publisher in printing the negative review. Since that could not be shown, there was no cause of action.
|Citation||Pegasus v. Reno Newspapers, Inc., --- P.3d --- (2002 WL 31487455, Sup. Ct., Nev., 2002)|
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