(CN) – An ATM business may be liable for allegedly spreading rumors that one of its competitors is run by a convicted felon, a New York appeals court ruled.
Paramount Amusement and Vending sued Robert Cifone and other defendants over the content of a pair of letters, one sent in 2008 and the other in 2009.
Paramount said the letters accused the company of violating a purported federal law that prohibits felons from operating ATM businesses./
The lower court ruled in favor of Cifone, but the Brooklyn-based Second Department New York Appellate Division reversed the decision.
The justices wrote that the statements “were reasonably susceptible of a defamatory meaning and did not constitute personal opinion since they reasonably appeared to contain assertions of objective fact, which do not fall within the scope of protected opinion.”
They remanded the case to the lower court for a decision on the defamation claim.