By: Daily Record Staff//September 27, 2023
By: Daily Record Staff//September 27, 2023//
New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department
Recitation of facts in support of opinion
Appealed from Supreme Court, Onondaga County
Background: The plaintiff commenced a defamation action seeking damages for statements made by the defendant in a letter to the New York Inspector General about the defendant’s concerns that the plaintiff and others were disclosing confidential information to the media as the plaintiff is a member of the New York State Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The plaintiff moved to dismiss counterclaims and the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint. Both motions were denied.
Ruling: The Appellate Division granted the defendant’s motion. The court held that the defendant’s letter constituted a statement of opinion, which was accompanied by a recitation of the facts upon which the opinion was based. The court noted that the phrases used by the defendant included “appear to be” and “to the extent that there is evidence.”
Steven W. Williams, of Smith, Sovik, Kendrick & Sugnet, for the defendant-appellant-respondent; Gary J. Lavine, pro se.