Scholz v. DelpAnnotate this Case
In 2007, Brad Delp, the lead singer of the rock band “Boston,” committed suicide. The Boston Herald, Inc., published three stories regarding Brad’s suicide. The two authors of the newspaper articles relied on information from Brad’s former wife, Micki Delp. Donald Scholz, who founded “Boston,” filed an action for defamation against Micki, arguing that her statements insinuated that Scholz was responsible for Brad’s suicide. Scholz then brought an action for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Boston Herald and the two authors (collectively, the Herald) based on the same statements as reported in the three articles. The superior court granted summary judgment for Micki. The appeals court reversed. A different superior court judge allowed the Herald’s motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Judicial Court paired the cases for judgment and held (1) the second motion judge properly granted summary judgment for the Herald, as the newspaper articles and statements contained therein constituted nonactionable opinions based on disclosed nondefamatory facts that did not imply undisclosed defamatory facts and therefore could not form the basis of a claim of defamation; and (2) the first motion judge correctly allowed Micki’s motion for summary judgment, as Micki’s statements were opinions and thus were nonactionable.