Judge tosses Boston rocker's lawsuit against Herald

By: Herald Staff
Boston Herald

A Superior Court judge earlier today threw out Boston rocker Tom Scholz's defamation lawsuit against the Herald and two of its long-time columnists, Gayle Fee and Laura Raposa.

Scholz sued the Herald in 2010, claiming that articles published by the Herald's Inside Track columnists in March, 2007 implied that he was responsible for Boston lead singer Brad Delp's decision to take his life.

Scholz alleged that the Herald had "fabricated" the statements that it attributed to Brad Delp's former wife Micki about Delp's suicide. However, Micki Delp confirmed under oath that the Herald had quoted her accurately, and that it had also accurately summarized her opinions both when Delp took his life and now. The Judge rejected Scholz's claim that the Herald fabricated statements made by Micki, holding that Scholz "has no reasonable expectation of … proving that Micki Delp did not make the statements that she says she made, and stands by."

In dismissing the lawsuit, Judge Frances A. McIntyre ruled that Scholz had "no reasonable expectation" of proving the statements in the articles were false and that the statements about Delp's suicide were non-actionable opinions. "Considering the context of the article…it would only be reasonably perceived as an opinion held by …persons with some familiarity with the situation. No other interpretation is reasonable."

The court observed that "Delp's suicide was a private tragedy" but "for the public who cared about him during his life, his death was an issue of public concern."

"We are very proud of our journalists, and this decision reinforces that pride," said Herald Editor in Chief Joe Sciacca.  "It was important that the Herald stand firm against this lawsuit, and we could not be more pleased with the result."

The Herald's counsel, Jeffrey S. Robbins of Mintz Levin, stated, "We have said from the very beginning that this was a lawsuit that should never have been brought. The Superior Court's ruling that Mr. Scholz's claims must be dismissed in their entirety is a victory not only for the Boston Herald and its journalists, but for the public and the First Amendment, whose very purpose is to serve the public interest."

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