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Litigants claim that reports made to a computer data base can be defamatory. Insurers must be cautious in making such reports to limit them to accurate information. In Barclay v. Keystone Shipping Co., 128 F. Supp. 2d 237 (E.D.Pa. 2001), a seaman sued a ship owner for defamation under Pennsylvania common law in part because the ship owner prepared a report to the Marine Index Bureau in which the ship owner said the seaman deserted his ship. The federal court held that ship owner had a conditional privilege in making the report as long as the report was made for a proper purpose, on a proper occasion, and was limited to parties who had an interest in the matter.
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