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Judge Dismisses Boston Guitarist Tom Scholz’s Lawsuit Against Newspaper

Ebet Roberts, Getty Images

Boston‘s Tom Scholz is almost as well-known for his litigious ways as he is for his musical gifts, but it looks like his latest lawsuit will end in defeat.

Scholz has been in court against the Boston Herald, pursuing a defamation claim that stems from a series of articles in which Micki Delp, the widow of former Boston vocalist Brad Delp, was quoted as saying Delp’s unhappy creative partnership with Scholz contributed to his 2007 suicide. Scholz had argued that the paper “fabricated” the statements attributed to the former Mrs. Delp — a claim severely undermined when she took the stand and affirmed that the quotes were correct, leading the judge to rule he “has no reasonable expectation of … proving that Micki Delp did not make the statements that she says she made, and stands by.”

The court’s ruling sidestepped the storm of gossip that erupted around Delp’s death following the lawsuit, refusing to address whether Scholz contributed to Delp’s emotional state and calling his death a “private tragedy” that deserved reporting because “for the public who cared about him during his life, his death was an issue of public concern.”

Noting that Micki Delp’s statements “only be reasonably perceived as an opinion,” the judge denied Scholz’s defamation claim, a decision celebrated by the Herald’s lawyer, who told the paper, “We have said from the very beginning that this was a lawsuit that should never have been brought. The Superior Court’s ruling that Mr. Scholz’s claims must be dismissed in their entirety is a victory not only for the Boston Herald and its journalists, but for the public and the First Amendment, whose very purpose is to serve the public interest.”

The case may not be entirely over, however. As Scholz’s lawyer put it after the trial, “Mr. Scholz respectfully disagrees with the trial court’s decision and analysis. He has just ­received the decision and will ­decide shortly about an appeal.”

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