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Hamrick v. Perdue

NEW YORK SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT


December 16, 2008

KENNETH HAMRICK, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
ROLAND P. PERDUE, III, ETC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.

Order, Supreme Court, New York County (Walter B. Tolub, J.), entered May 29, 2008, which denied plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and an immediate trial of the issue of damages and granted defendants' cross motions for summary judgment dismissing the complaint, unanimously affirmed, without costs.

Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.

This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.

Andrias, J.P., Nardelli, Sweeny, DeGrasse, Freedman, JJ.

602235/07

In this defamation action, defendants met their burden of showing that defendant Perdue's statements that plaintiff misrepresented his academic credentials in connection with his employment by defendant Presbytery were true (see Silverman v Clark, 35 AD3d 1, 12 [2006]). Plaintiff failed to raise a triable issue as to the falsity of the statements (see id. at 13).

Perdue's statement to church staff and choir members that the "resulting lack of credibility and trust toward [plaintiff] caused by this matter has rippled through [the church and choir staff] and beyond" was made in the context of explaining why plaintiff had been terminated and was an expression of opinion, not fact (see Mann v Abel, 10 NY3d 271, 276 [2008]; Galasso v Saltzman, 42 AD3d 310, 311 [2007]).

We have considered plaintiff's remaining argument and find it unavailing.

THIS CONSTITUTES THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE SUPREME COURT, APPELLATE DIVISION, FIRST DEPARTMENT.

20081216

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