Greenleaf Development Defamation Lawsuit Against Investigative Post to Advance Despite Ruling Finding Plaintiffs to be “Public Figures” (NYS Supreme Court Case #804436)

Whatever the outcome of our appeal, we will press forward with our claims.

In April of this year, Greenleaf Development and Construction, LLC and its principal/CEO, James R. Swiezy, commenced a defamation lawsuit (as officially submitted to the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Erie, Erie County Clerk filing index number 804436/2017) against Investigative Post and its reporter, Dan Telvock. The suit alleges that Investigative Post and Mr. Telvock intentionally published falsities about Greenleaf and Mr. Swiezy during reporting on a local student housing project undertaken by the company.

In response to the lawsuit, Investigative Post sought to have Greenleaf and Mr. Swiezy declared “public figures.” Under the law, a media outlet is free to defame a public figure without risk of liability so long as it does so without “actual malice.”

By order filed December 21, 2017, the Court granted Investigative Post’s motion to deem Greenleaf and Mr. Swiezy to be public figures, thus requiring the plaintiffs to prove at trial that Investigative Post defamed them with actual malice.

“I respectfully disagree with the Court’s finding that Greenleaf and me are public figures and will appeal that determination,” said Mr. Swiezy. “Whatever the outcome of our appeal, we will press forward with our claims.”

Greenleaf Development’s full complaint is available at

Greenleaf Development is a property management, construction and development company that currently owns and operates over 100 buildings and nearly 500 apartment units in the City of Buffalo and Western New York. The company is committed to providing safe, affordable quality apartments in the region and has been actively involved in real estate management and development since 1986.

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