Scott v. Thayer, 525214

CourtNew York Supreme Court Appellate Division
Citation160 A.D.3d 1175,75 N.Y.S.3d 603
Docket Number525214,525505
Parties John C. SCOTT, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of Bernice Scott, Deceased, Appellant, v. Janet M. THAYER, Respondent, et al., Defendant.
Decision Date12 April 2018

160 A.D.3d 1175
75 N.Y.S.3d 603

John C. SCOTT, Individually and as Executor of the Estate of Bernice Scott, Deceased, Appellant,
v.
Janet M. THAYER, Respondent, et al., Defendant.

525214
525505

Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

Calendar Date: February 16, 2018
Decided and Entered: April 12, 2018


75 N.Y.S.3d 604

The Rehfuss Law Firm, Latham (Stephen J. Rehfuss of counsel), for appellant.

Cabaniss Casey LLP, Albany (David B. Cabaniss of counsel), for respondent.

Before: Garry, P.J., Devine, Clark and Rumsey, JJ.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Rumsey, J.

Appeals (1) from an order of the Supreme Court (Connolly, J.), entered November 10, 2016 in Albany County, which granted defendant Janet M. Thayer's motion for, among other things, summary judgment dismissing the amended complaint against her, and (2) from an order of said court, entered May 23, 2017 in Albany County, which denied plaintiff's motion for leave to renew.

In April 2014, defendant Janet M. Thayer was appointed as guardian of the person and property of Bernice Scott (hereinafter decedent) pursuant to Mental Hygiene Law article 81. Following Thayer's appointment, decedent—who was then 89 years old and suffering with Alzheimer's disease—was moved from her home to the Albany County Nursing Home where she resided for several months. Decedent was later briefly hospitalized at Albany Memorial Hospital, where she died on November 13, 2014. Plaintiff, decedent's son and the executor of her estate, commenced this action against Thayer and another claiming that Thayer had defamed him. Prior to answering, Thayer moved to dismiss the complaint against her pursuant to

75 N.Y.S.3d 605

CPLR 3211(a)(7) and for summary judgment pursuant to CPLR 3211(c). While Thayer's motion was pending, plaintiff filed an amended verified complaint, and Thayer and plaintiff stipulated that Thayer's motion would be deemed to seek dismissal of the amended complaint.

Although plaintiff alleged that Thayer made numerous defamatory statements, the only one relevant to this appeal is a statement that Thayer purportedly made to Anthony Posca—a doctor who treated decedent at Albany Memorial Hospital—that "[plaintiff] ... was very abusive to [decedent], would not take [her] anywhere for checkups, would not let Adult Protective Services or other aides into the house, ... and that [plaintiff] would not allow [decedent] to be place[d] anywhere." Supreme Court granted Thayer's motion pursuant to CPLR 3211(c) and dismissed the amended complaint against her finding, in relevant part, that the statement that she allegedly made to Posca was protected by the qualified common interest privilege and that plaintiff had not tendered evidence of malice sufficient to defeat the privilege. Thereafter, Supreme Court denied plaintiff's subsequent motion for leave to renew his opposition to Thayer's motion to provide evidence of malice. Plaintiff now appeals from the order granting defendant's motion for summary judgment and from the order denying his motion to renew.

Supreme Court properly determined that the statement that Thayer allegedly made to Posca is protected by the qualified privilege. "A qualified privilege arises when a person makes a good-faith, bona fide communication upon a subject in which he or she has an interest, or a legal, moral or societal interest to speak, and the communication is made to a person with a corresponding interest" ( Cusimano v. United Health Servs. Hosps., Inc., 91 A.D.3d 1149, 1150, 937...

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13 cases
  • Moraes v. White
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 22 novembre 2021
    ...each other as would support a reasonable ground for supposing an innocent motive for imparting the information." Scott v. Thayer , 160 A.D.3d 1175, 75 N.Y.S.3d 603, 605 (2018).Here, defendants argue the common-interest privilege shelters Ms. White's posts because they were made in two Faceb......
  • Toombs v. John H. (In re James H. Supplemental Needs Trusts)
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • 9 mai 2019
    ...quotation marks and citation omitted], lv dismissed 24 N.Y.3d 1210, 4 N.Y.S.3d 591, 28 N.E.3d 25 [2015] ; accord Scott v. Thayer, 160 A.D.3d 1175, 1178, 75 N.Y.S.3d 603 [2018] ). Only if the trial court abused its discretion will we disturb the decision on a motion to renew (see Hurrell–Har......
  • Conti v. Doe
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of New York
    • 22 avril 2021
    ...other as would support a reasonable ground for supposing an innocent motive for imparting the information." Scott v. Thayer , 160 A.D.3d 1175, 75 N.Y.S.3d 603 (3d Dep't 2018) (common interest privilege applied to statements made by decedent's guardian to decedent's doctor) (internal citatio......
  • Jacob WW. v. Joy XX.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Division
    • 20 février 2020
    ...remaining contention, that Family Court erred in denying his motion for leave to renew, lacking in merit (see Scott v. Thayer, 160 A.D.3d 1175, 1177, 75 N.Y.S.3d 603 [2018] ; Howard v. Stanger, 122 A.D.3d 1121, 1123, 996 N.Y.S.2d 785 [2014], lv dismissed 24 N.Y.3d 1210, 4 N.Y.S.3d 591, 28 N......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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