Boston Partner Gareth Notis recently obtained summary judgment in Bristol Superior Court on behalf of two defendants in a defamation and conspiracy matter. The plaintiff, a developer and former Selectmen, alleged that he was defamed by a sitting Selectmen about misconduct relating to a residential development. He further alleged that the second defendant, a former Selectmen, conspired with the first defendant to defame the plaintiff.

The judge dismissed both counts against both defendants, ruling that: 1) the plaintiff was a public figure and failed to show actual malice necessary to support the defamation claim; 2) the sitting Selectmen was entitled to qualified immunity because he made the statements in the course of his official duties about a matter of public concern; 3) the plaintiff consented to the publication of the allegedly defamatory statements; 4) the statements were opinion and therefore not defamatory; and 5) there was no evidence of common design or agreement to injure the plaintiff by the two defendants.