By Joe Dwinell
A superior court judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by Tom Scholz, the founder of the rock band Boston, against the ex-wife of the group's longtime lead singer, Brad Delp.
In a 12-page decision, Superior Court Judge John C. Cratsley ruled that Scholz failed to present proof that Micki Delp defamed him and held that Scholz's allegations lacked sufficient evidence to go forward to trial.
Micki Delp is the ex-wife of Brad Delp, the former lead singer for the band Boston who committed suicide in March of 2007. Days after his death, Micki Delp spoke to the Herald's Inside Track about her views of the pressures her former husband was feeling in the period shortly before his suicide.
Scholz filed the lawsuit against Micki Delp, the mother of Brad Delp's children and Delp's close friend until the time of his death, alleging that when she provided her views to the Herald, she blamed Scholz for Delp's suicide.
She denied that she was affixing blame for the suicide on Scholz, maintaining that she was merely expressing her opinions about what Delp was feeling about the band and various matters relating to it. She also stated that her opinions were based on what Delp had told her and others close to him over time, including in the period shortly before he took his life.
Her views, the judge ruled, "do not have defamatory content as to Scholz." The judge went on to say that she never mentioned Scholz by name in her comments, further reason to dismiss the suit.
"Just as all six of Micki's statements do not have defamatory content as to Scholz, I find that none of the statements are ‘of and concerning' Scholz," Cratsley wrote. "The statements of Micki do not refer to Scholz by name."
The judge also ruled that Scholz had not produced any evidence that Micki Delp made any statements with malice. The judge ruled that "whether (Micki Delp) spoke falsely to the Herald on March 15, 2007 in an intentional effort to blame Delp's suicide on Scholz remains pure speculation."
Scholz is suing the Herald over three 2007 Inside Track columns that he claims imply he drove fellow band member Delp to commit suicide.
In his ruling, the judge held that while the Herald article containing Micki Delp's quotes "could be read by some to contain a defamatory meaning as to Scholz because of the possible leap or inference a reader might make that turmoil in Brad's professional life, possibly caused by Scholz, played a role in Brad's suicide," her quotes did not state that. The court ruled "even assuming that the Boston Herald article actually discredited Scholz in the community," Micki Delp's quotations were not actionable.
In another ruling in the case, Cratsley ordered Scholz to turn over a "sealed package" of e-mails to the Herald as part of discovery in the case. The judge ruled he had previously ordered these documents be turned over in January and that Scholz's lawyers had failed to comply with those rulings.
Cratsley rejected what he termed Scholz's lawyers' "misleading argument" asking him to reconsider his prior ruling.