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Defamation lawsuit against SU, Boeheim dismissed

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Defamation lawsuit against SU, Boeheim dismissed
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The defamation lawsuit against Syracuse University men's basketball team head coach Jim Boeheim and the university has been dismissed. Bobby Davis and Michael Lang had accused Boeheim of making defamatory statements after the two men came forward, claiming they were abused by long-time assistant coach Bernie Fine. Erin Clarke has more.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- True to his word, State Supreme Court Judge Brian DeJoseph made a decision in two weeks regarding whether the defamation lawsuit against Jim Boeheim and SU will go forward.

In the court documents filed, Judge DeJoseph wrote that the content, tone and purpose of Boeheim's statements would clearly signal to the reasonable reader that what was being said in the articles published in the days after the initial ESPN report were likely to be an opinion, a biased, passionate and defensive point of view of a basketball coach rather than objective fact. Thus the claim against Boeheim fails as a matter of law.

That also means that the claim against the university has failed also.

The attorney for Bobby Davis and Michael Lang released a statement following Friday's decision.

Gloria Allred said, "When Bobby Davis came forward years ago and complained about sexual abuse he was ignored. When the allegations were made public he was attacked. It is difficult enough for victims of childhood sexual abuse to come forward. This decision sends the message that you can attack the alleged victim and call him a liar with impunity. It makes it even harder for victims to come forward. We will file an appeal and continue to fight.”

Syracuse University also released a statement.

Kevin Quinn, the Senior Vice President for Public Affairs at SU said, "We have had an opportunity to review the legal papers. We are gratified by the Court's decision dismissing this lawsuit."

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