Josey and Payne Secure a Victory for Bank Client
The bank was sued for defamation by the proposed manager of a new business venture arising out of a refusal by the bank to loan the venture funds. Jeff Payne obtained summary judgment for the client, and Rene Josey handled the appeal. The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the grant of summary judgment. The case is important in clarifying the objective limits upon defamation by insinuation. In this case, the plaintiff claimed he was defamed by the bank's private comment that it would not lend to the venture with him involved. The court held that there was no reasonable defamation implied and that defamatory meanings could not be "purely conjectural interpretations." The case is also important in clarifying qualified privilege in the lending context. The court affirmed that the statement was both within the scope of the privilege and that there was no evidence it was made in disregard of the plaintiff's rights.