Kenneth Mr. Vercammen was included in the 2020 “Super Lawyers” list published by Thomson Reuters.

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Donald J. Trump v. Timothy L. O'Brien, et al.


Following the publication of the biography, TrumpNation,
its subject, Donald Trump, sued its author, Timothy O'Brien, and
his publisher, claiming that O'Brien's report that Trump's net
worth was only $150 million to $250 million, not the billions
that Trump asserted, was defamatory. During discovery, Trump
sought the identification of the three sources of O'Brien's
information, along with notes of interviews with those sources.
O'Brien refused to produce the requested discovery, citing the
newsperson's privilege. The trial court, applying New York's
Shield Law, found the information unprotected and ordered
production of this and other information and documentation.
On appeal, we reversed, determining that the identity and
statements of the sources were protected by New York's Shield
Law. In doing so, we found that non-fiction books were
protected by that Law, the information contained in TrumpNation
was of public interest and thus "news," and that O'Brien's
sources were confidential. We also found that Trump had failed
to meet the burden required to defeat the qualified privilege
applicable to allegedly non-confidential materials. Although we
recognized that both the confidential and allegedly nonconfidential
materials that O'Brien refused to disclose would be
protected by New Jersey's Shield Law, we did not resolve the
conflict of law issue thus raised, finding it not to have