From Willamette Week comes this report that Mayor Adams former spokesman, Wade Nkrumah, filed suit in Multnomah County over statements made by Mayor Adams. According to the news report, Mayor Adams said that Nkrumah resigned because of the stress of the job.
This raises interesting issues in the area of defamation. Defamation claims arise when someone makes a false statement that injures your reputation. Some types of statements are so general or trifling that the court can dismiss a defamation claim when the false statement isn’t serious enough.
In legal talk, trivial statements are not defamatory. So one of the interesting battles in this case will be whether statements about Mr. Nkrumah’s ability to take stress qualify as defamatory.
I’m guessing that they will and should. After all, isn’t that a “he can’t take it” statement about Mr. Nkrumah’s ability to do his job? Doesn’t it really imply that he’s not up to snuff. I can certainly see him winning that issue. I’ve argued as much about similar statements made about a commercial pilot.
This has the potential to be one of those noteworthy cases. I’m sure that has nothing to do with Mayor Adams. Nothing at all.