The Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno prevailed in dismissing a lawsuit brought by former employee and priest Craig Harrison, who claimed he had been slandered in the media by his employer.
A Fresno County Superior Court judge ruled Friday in favor of a motion filed by the diocese, which sought to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that the alleged defamatory speech was protected by the First Amendment.
Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan found the statements at issue in the case, which were made by a victim coordinator for the diocese, were opinion and not factual statements.
A ruling in favor of the motion, known as an anti-SLAPP motion, results in immediate dismissal of the case.
Harrison’s attorney, Craig Edmonston, said Friday he believes the ruling was made in error and plans to appeal it. The diocese declined to comment, citing a policy regarding pending litigation matters.
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