The Court of Appeals of Maryland held that a party seeking to overcome a common law conditional privilege in a purely private defamation suit must do so by a preponderance of the evidence. Seley-Radtke v. Hosmane, 450 Md. 468, 474, 149 A.3d 573, 576 (2016). The court also held that evidentiary issues not addressed by the court of special appeals are not subject to review by the court of appeals. Id. at 510, 149 A.3d at 598 (citing Md. R. 8- 131(b)(1)). Further, the court held that prejudicial evidence irrelevant to a claim is not admissible at trial. Seley-Radtke, 450 Md. at 513-14, 149 Md. at 600.
Katherine Seley-Radtke ("Seley-Radtke") and Ramachandra Hosmane ("Hosmane") were professors at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County ("UMBC"). Following allegations that Hosmane sexually assaulted one of his graduate students, Brahmi Shukla ("Shukla"), UMBC officials conducted an investigation and determined that Hosmane violated UMBC's sexual harassment policy. On January 1, 2010, Hosmane resigned from his position on the condition that the findings from the UMBC investigation would not be publicized. Later, Hosmane and Shukla entered into a settlement agreement in which Hosmane paid Shukla $10,000 in return for Shukla dropping any civil and criminal claims against Hosmane.
"Recent Development: Seley-Radtke v. Hosmane: The Standard of Proof Requirement in a Purely Private Defamation Action for an Individual Asserting A Common Law Conditional Privilege is Preponderance of the Evidence,"
University of Baltimore Law Forum: Vol. 47:
2, Article 11.
Available at: https://scholarworks.law.ubalt.edu/lf/vol47/iss2/11