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Judge drops parts of band founder’s Herald lawsuit

By Travis Andersen
Globe Staff / September 15, 2011

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A Suffolk Superior Court judge has dismissed parts of a defamation lawsuit against the Boston Herald, ruling that the founder of the rock band Boston failed to show that the newspaper published malicious articles about the civil action that he brought against the company last year.

In a ruling yesterday, Judge John C. Cratsley wrote that band founder Tom Scholz “does not say, nor does [he] plead facts to infer, that the sole purpose of the 2010 articles was to defame him and not to inform the public.’’

An attorney for the Herald, Jeffrey Robbins of Boston, hailed the ruling last night in a phone interview.

“It’s a very significant victory . . . for the public and the First Amendment, and for those whose job it is to inform the public [about] what is going on in government, including in the judicial branch’’ without fear of a retaliatory lawsuit, Robbins said.

A lawyer for Scholz, Nicholas Carter of Boston, said in an e-mail that Cratsley had previously ruled the guitarist could pursue his main claim against the Herald for its “wrongful and devastating articles’’ about the suicide of lead singer Brad Delp in 2007.

“Today’s decision does not disturb that finding, and Mr. Scholz will continue vigorously to pursue those claims,’’ Carter said.

In a suit filed last year, Scholz argued that the Herald defamed him by republishing portions of a 2007 interview in March 2010 with Delp’s former wife, Micki, in which Scholz said he was falsely implicated in Delp’s death.

That portion of the lawsuit is still pending. Last month, Cratsley dismissed a separate suit that Scholz had brought against Micki Delp.

No trial date has been set for the remainder of Scholz’s suit against the Herald.

Travis Andersen can be reached at tandersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.