(CN) – A Massachusetts man can proceed with his claim that an ice rink’s manager defamed him by spreading the word that he was banned from the building, the state’s appeals court ruled.
The West Suburban Arena in Natick, Mass., banned James Craig Burley from its ice rink after several parents claimed about his allegedly inappropriate behavior.
Burley sued for defamation after arena manager John Conway sent a copy of the no-trespass letter to the Natick District Court and the police department.
The trial court ruled for the arena based on the anti-SLAPP statute, a law that filters lawsuits intended to censor, intimidate or silence critics.
The appeals court said it would have upheld the trial court’s decision had Conway only told the court and police about Burley’s banishment.
But he also told employees about the ban. This did not constitute protected activity, the court ruled, so the anti-SLAPP rule does not apply.
It reversed and allowed the case to proceed in trial court.