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Chief Aircraft, Inc. v. Grill

Court of Appeals of Oregon

November 8, 2017

CHIEF AIRCRAFT, INC., an Oregon corporation, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Eric GRILL, Defendant-Appellant.

          Submitted on remand October 17, 2016.

         Josephine County Circuit Court 12CV1156.

         On remand from the Oregon Supreme Court, Chief Aircraft, Inc. v. Grill, 360 Or. 400, 381 P.3d 836 (2016). Thomas M. Hull, Judge.

          Linda K. Williams and Daniel W. Meek fled the briefs for appellant.

          Michael J. Mayerle and Hornecker Cowling LLP fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Tookey, Presiding Judge, and Hadlock, Chief Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Plaintiff fled a lawsuit against defendant for defamation, defamation per se, and intentional interference with economic relations, based on defendant's online statements about plaintiff. Defendant fled an Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) motion under ORS 31.150, which the trial court denied. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court subsequently allowed review and remanded to the Court of Appeals for reconsideration in light of its intervening decision in Neumann v. Liles, 358 Or. 706, 369 P.3d 1117 (2016), in which the Supreme Court adopted a specific framework to determine whether a defamatory statement is entitled to First Amendment protection.

         Held:

         The trial court did not err in denying defendant's anti-SLAPP motion. Applying Neumann, a reasonable factfnder could conclude that two of defendant's statements imply an assertion of objective fact. Accordingly, those statements, if false, are not protected by the First Amendment.

         Affirmed.

         [288 Or.App. 730] AOYAGI, J.

         This is an online defamation case. Defendant made certain statements about plaintiff on a consumer website and on Twitter, which led plaintiff to file this lawsuit against him for defamation and intentional interference with economic relations (HER). Defendant filed an Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (anti-SLAPP) motion under ORS 31.150, which the trial court denied. We affirmed, and defendant sought review. Thereafter, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Neumann v. Liles,358 Or. 706, 369 P.3d 1117 (2016), wherein, as a matter of first impression, it adopted an explicit framework for analyzing whether a defamatory statement is entitled to First Amendment protection. The court then allowed defendant's ...


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