The Deepest Cut of All: New York Man Sues Over Publication Saying That He Was Not Circumcised

180px-gottlieb-jews_praying_in_the_synagogue_on_yom_kippurThere is an interesting defamation case developing in New York where John F. Singer is suing Centropa (the Central Europe Center for Research and Documentation), an oral history project based in Europe. Centropa published a study in 2005 that quoted Singer’s mother as saying that he was not circumcised as an infant. Singer insists that this is defamatory for a Jewish male and is seeking damages.

Singer says that he told the Center director Edward Serotta that the fact was wrong and that his mother denies saying anything of the kind. Yet, it was not correct and later republished when the website was redesigned. The quote was not removed until October 2008. It appears that Singer felt people looked at him a bit differently in the interim. He insisted that “as a Jewish male, it is in direct contradiction to Jewish law to be uncircumcised.”

The complaint alleged that he “suffered loss of his reputation, shame, mortification and extreme emotional distress.” He claims libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress, seeks an injunction and damages. He insists that he suffered “severe embarrassment, mental anguish and extreme emotional distress” from being labeled an uncircumcised male.

This would not easily into areas of per se defamation that applies in slander. This libel action could argue that the uncircumcised allegations raises a question of immorality but that would be a bit of a stretch. If there are not presumed damages, he would have to show special damages, which would be pretty tough. This is not likely the type of thing that people get off an elevator when you enter — assuming that you are clothed at the time. Also, for intentional infliction, he would need not only to show intent but also the type of severe and outrageous act needed to sustain such a claim. That also may be hard to sustain. This will certainly be a case of first impression and discovery could be quite interesting.

For a copy of the complaint, click here.

For the full story, click here.

3 thoughts on “The Deepest Cut of All: New York Man Sues Over Publication Saying That He Was Not Circumcised”

  1. Surely, this falls in the frivolous lawsuit category. He “thought” other people were thinking the worse of him. How can you sue other people from imaginary musings and suppositions (delusion) in the “aggrieved” person’s mind?

  2. Mark,

    0 points for copy/paste
    0 points for relevance.

    If a circumcision is not performed in a hospital, is there any documentation to prove it ever happened? If someone had published incorrect information about my ….body, I would just take whatever documentation I had down to the publisher to get a correction. It seems to me like he just went down there and told them. Short of dropping trow, he didn’t show any proof.

  3. Media Forgets That Wall Street Rip Off Artist is BIG Democrat Donor
    By Warner Todd Huston | December 14, 2008 – 01:20

    The media seem to be forgetting one small aspect of the story of Wall Street rip off artist Bernard Madoff. Like Blago, Madoff’s connections to the Democrat Party seem to be of little interest to the media.

    Very few media stories of the fraud perpetrated by former Nasdaq chairman Madoff mentions the heavy financial support that Madoff has donated to the Democrat Party. Campaign contributions by Madoff show many thousands of dollars going to Democrat candidates and causes. Including $100,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign, thousands to Charles Rangel (D, NY), Charles Schumer (D, NY), and $6,000 to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Madoff also gave generously to Senator Frank Lautenberg (D, NJ) who runs a charitable foundation that invested with Madoff.

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