Cole v. Siegel
Justice William Giacomo
Town Supervisor Siegel, and Town of Yorktown moved to dismiss a defamation claim over a dispute surrounding a request to borrow a bucket truck for the town's Memorial Day parade. The request was denied, and Siegel called the School District Director of Facilities, and Superintendent seeking to resolve the issue. Plaintiff Cole alleged during such conversation Siegel stated the only reason the school district's assistant superintendent for business was withholding the vehicle was because his sister, Cole, was having a relationship with DiBartolo, the Superintendent of Highways, Siegel's political adversary. Defendants argued Siegel's statements were privileged and immune from liability as they were made in the course of her duties. The court agreed noting there was no dispute Siegel was entitled to a privilege for statements made in the course of the performance of her official duties as they were made during her attempts to resolve the issue of borrowing the bucket truck from the school district, and expressing her concern that Cole's relationship may be the reason the school district was not permitting the town to use it. Thus, it ruled the comments were privileged and enjoyed absolute immunity, granting defendants' summary judgment.