Bauer v. BrinkmanAnnotate this Case
In this defamation action, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order granting Defendant's motion for summary judgment, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that the statement at issue was a constitutionally protected opinion.
Plaintiff, a manager of an apartment building, sued Defendant for defamation in connection with a social media post in which Defendant called Plaintiff a slumlord. In his complaint, Plaintiff argued that Defendant asserted a false statement of fact in alleging that he was an actual unscrupulous landlord of a slum area. The district court granted summary judgment for Defendant. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that any reasonable reader of Defendant's social media post would understand that the use of the term "slumlord" was only rhetorical hyperbole; and (2) therefore, there was insufficient evidence that anyone thought Defendant asserted a factual statement about Plaintiff as a landlord.