Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Sex Abuse Allegation Reaction —Expression of Opinion
Lang v. Beoheim and Syracuse University
Appealed from Supreme Court, Onondaga County
Background: The plaintiffs commenced a defamation action seeking damages for statements made by the head basketball coach for the university in the wake of allegations that they were sexually abused by the associate head coach. The plaintiff appealed from the dismissal of its complaint for failure to state a cause of action.
Ruling: The Appellate Division affirmed. The court held that the defendant’s statements demonstrated his support for his long-time friend and colleague, and also constituted his reaction to the plaintiff’s implied allegation that the defendant knew or should have known of the alleged improprieties. Therefore, they were statements of opinion.
Mariann Meier Wang of Cuti Hecker Wang for the plaitniffs-appellants; Helen V. Cantwell of Debevoise & Plimpton for the defendants-respondents