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Back to the Future: Davis & Lang vs. Boeheim

The Boeheim defamation lawsuit has been resurrected

Editor's note: The following is a quick post about today's Court of Appeals decision while I'm on an extended lunch break during a jury trial. Yeah. That's how much I care about you people!

Today, New York's highest court -- the Court of Appeals -- issued a decision reversing the lower court's finding affirming the trial court's order of dismissal. In layman's terms: back on.

Procedurally, we know this case never went to trial. Boeheim's lawyers filed a notice of appeal very early in the process -- even before discovery. The trial judge dismissed the suit, ruling that the suit filed on behalf of Bobby Davis and Mike Lang did not allege facts sufficient to meet the legal threshold. That dismissal order was appealed to the mid-level appeals court in New York -- the Appellate Division -- which upheld the dismissal in a close 3-2 decision. The Court of Appeals took the case, and after oral arguments last month, considered arguments of both sides and determined, based on the law, that the lawsuit should be reinstated.

The gist of the Court of Appeals' decision is that Davis & Lang sufficiently alleged that the statements of Boeheim in the hours and days after the Bernie Fine allegations were made public, were of such a nature that they constituted "mixed fact and opinion," which makes it at least sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Boeheim making statements that "they had done this before" in regards of Davis & Lang making these sex abuse allegations, as well as Boeheim's reference to the investigation that found no proof of the abuse, are what did Boeheim in. Those facts were special facts that the public -- the reasonable listener/reader of Boeheim's statements -- had no knowledge of prior to Boeheim stating it. Because Boeheim's statements of opinion are based upon those special facts not previously disclosed, the Court found they were mixed fact & opinion, which are the proper basis of a defamation lawsuit.

But wait, this isn't the end of the road. The Court of Appeals is merely stating that the allegations in the lawsuit are sufficient for the case to move forward. That means, the case can proceed through the discovery process, depositions of witnesses, other legal wranglings, and ultimately a jury trial. A jury could still find that those statements were not defamatory. A jury could find that the statements of fact upon which Boeheim made his opinions were actually true -- and most of us know that the truth is a defense to defamation.

So, Boeheim could still walk away from this unscathed. Or, a jury could rule against him and find that he did defame Davis & Lang. Or, maybe this doesn't even get that far -- maybe all the parties reach a settlement, the terms of which we'd probably never know. Stay tuned, we'll walk you through any future developments.

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Cue the Smiling Child!

Great to be back in the winning column -- calls for a double thumbs up!

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Wake Forest Quick Predictions

So angry.
Fresh off a loss to the best team in the nation, Syracuse is looking to send a message that they can at least take care of business against the bottom of the ACC. And Wake Forest fits the bill. Can Syracuse rebound and earn a much needed win?
Wake Forest is dead last in the nation in rushing yards with 31 per game. They have a tragically ineffective rush offense which means that Wake will have to get the job done in the air. That's where Syracuse has traditionally struggled. While Syracuse should have it's best defensive day of the season against the rush, that will mean that Wake Forest will throw the ball more. I don't like having to rely on a secondary and/or linebackers in coverage to stop a team. Luckily the Syracuse pass rush is also pretty good. But that still means that the Syracuse offense needs to move the ball and put points on the board. Sometimes the game comes down to chewing the clock and hoping the other team makes the mistake that ends the game. Wake Forest's offense is even worse in the Red Zone oddly enough. So really, whoever wins the time of possession and the turnover battle. On paper, Syracuse is the better squad, despite starting a freshman QB. After last week I'll give them the benefit until he really blows the game by throwing into coverage. I'll take Syracuse in an grinder. 20 to 13.
This game is available regionally at 12:00pm on various local channels (listing here) and on Watch ESPN everywhere else (subject to blackout if the game is on TV in your area). Both John and I will be watching from home. If things go south we'll be cranky as always.

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The game was better. Not great but better.
A new offensive coordinator and a new starting QB was a recipe for a brutal viewing experience when facing the #1 team in the nation. But it actually wasn't so bad. And Syracuse covered the spread, if you're into being a degenerate gambler. Either way, there were some terrible things to watch, but mostly it was a good effort against a far superior team. FSU wins again 38-20.
Offense
C+
Syracuse was 7/14 (50%) on third downs, earned 20 first downs overall, and they racked up 412 total yards. The fact that they scored a touchdown was a minor miracle. Red Zone issues continue for the Orange however. AJ Long (16/27, 167yds, 2 TD, 2 INT) had an average day, and there were a few throws that should have never been made. But I'd rather he make the mistakes against FSU than a team that is beatable. Could have been worse, but could have been better.
Defense
D
Granted this was Florida State, but there were some coverages that were blown. There were either miscommunications or just stupidity. Either way, the defense couldn't stop much of anything.
Special Teams
B
A muffed punt was recovered. AMAZING. Granted the offense threw it right back to the other team on the next play, but hey, it was a good play. Cole Murphy was perfect on the day with 2 XPs and 2 FGs with a long of 32 yards. Also Riley Dixon was solid again.
Coaching
B
Good play calling and play calling that didn't hurt the team's chances of advancing the ball at a good rate. I liked the call to go for it near the goal line in the first half as well. It's FSU and the #1 team. If you want to upset them and you're within five yards of the goal line, why wouldn't you go for it? That's just smart, ESPN.
GPA
C+ (2.33)
Not a great game to see, but considering they were going against #1 and performed the way they did, it wasn't a bad effort. It was a nice scrimmage to get ready for Wake Forest this week.
Syracuse didn't have an awful outing. I'll take it for now. But this week against Wake Forest is a true test. Syracuse should be able to scrap out a win. If not, we have serious issues.

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Cue the Crying Child...

Can't say the result was that surprising. But it was still a loss.

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Florida State Quick Predictions

Mmm. Bacon.
Syracuse had a dreadful week last week. With an extra day of rest surely they will play better in their next game right? Not so fast, my friend! Florida State comes in #1 in the nation and will surely shred Syracuse.
Terrel Hunt is out 4-6 weeks with a broken fibula. Offensive Coordinator George McDonald has been demoted to WR coach and Tim Lester will take over OC duties going forward. I already feel better about how the team will be... next week. This weekend however, Syracuse is going to get smacked up. Probably similar to last season. Syracuse lost 59-3 last year at FSU. Can't see why this year will be much different. Sure FSU is a great team. They may or may not have an uncharged rapist and known shoplifter as their QB. Syracuse is starting a QB that hasn't started a game before, with a new OC. No big deal. Here is the real preview. FSU has more talented kids playing. Therefore, they will win. Handily. Syracuse may one day beat FSU. But that day is not Saturday. FSU 42 Syracuse 9.
This game will be available nationally on ESPN / Watch ESPN at 12:00pm. Syracuse loves the nooner. Both John and I will be in the Dome for Homecoming. Yaaaaay. We'll be inebriated and the Dome WiFi has been spotty this year so we'll see what kind of updates you'll get. Either way, don't be too upset with what you see. FSU is really, really good.

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After that game, everyone is looking at this man for answers.
Hopes were high that Syracuse could upset Louisville heading into the Dome. After all, the last time Louisville came into the Dome they were undefeated and left with a loss. The same fate would not be had for the Cardinals. Syracuse had a bad Friday night. The lose to Louisville 28 to 6.
Offense
D
Syracuse only managed 59 rushing yards. Louisville has one of the best rush defenses in the country so it isn't too surprising, but nobody managed to break out any runs longer than 19 yards. Terrel Hunt (201yds, 6.3avg, 0 TD, 2 INT) had a miserable day and looked off for most of this game. Syracuse couldn't sustain drives and failed to see the end zone. There were two HUGE drops by wide receivers in the end zone, which are not Hunt's fault at all, but still. The wide receivers had two horrific drops though. One that was a wide open touchdown catch that was just flat out dropped, and another falling out of the sideline that was a sure catch that was just dropped at the ground. Dreadful.
Defense
C
The defense was on the field for a long time, but the defense was able to recover a fumble and get an interception. They were also able to get at the QB and pressure or sack him several times. But the secondary again allowed a lot of yards through the air. It seemed no one could tackle in this game either. Seven missed tackles on one play is a joke. Dreadful.
Special Teams
D
At least the kicker did well. Coverage was a joke though. Kick coverage has been bad all season and it didn't improve for this game.
Coaching
F
The first safety in the game early in the second quarter was exclusively the coaching staff's fault for calling a pitch when you're receiving the ball in your end zone. No way he was getting out of the end zone on that play. It probably cost OC McDonald his job honestly. And rightly so. But this team looked unprepared and the play calling was dreadful all game. 
GPA
D (1.0)
Just a brutal game to watch for Syracuse fans.
Syracuse doesn't have an easier week playing Florida State. So look for a similar report card next week.

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Cue the Crying Child...

This child might not be crying hard enough for what I witnessed in that game.

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