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Zagami, LLC, d/b/a The Landmark American Tap and Grill, d/b/a Landmark Liquors v. Mary Ann Cottrell, et. al.

A-3948-07T3/A-4227-07T3 (consolidated)

We held that the defendants in this defamation action
brought by the owner of a bar are accorded absolute immunity,
under the litigation privilege, for oral and written statements
they made objecting to, and in connection with, the plaintiff's
municipal liquor license renewal proceeding. In extending the
privilege to these allegedly defaming defendants, we found the
administrative proceeding with its attendant safeguards of
notice, hearing, neutrality, availability of review on appeal,
and presence of retarding influences, sufficiently similar to
strictly judicial proceedings so as to protect the allegedly
defamed party from false or malicious charges and therefore
accord participants therein the same mantle of protection.