“Quixotic”, “self-absorbed”, “narcissistic”, “ungrateful”, “delusional”, and a “paranoid pompous ass” (sorry, it’s not who you think).

These words were not used to describe a public figure. The operator of an apartment complex allegedly used them to describe a resident after a dispute over entitlement to a third parking space.  The resident sued for defamation, harassment, and intentional infliction of emotional harm.

The New York Appellate Division, Second Department, said these terms were not defamatory per se since they did not connote a serious crime or loathsome disease, and did not tend to injure the resident in his trade or profession. Furthermore, they were readily understood as expressions of opinion, and were not statements of fact. Statements of opinion are not actionable.

The court threw out the harassment claim because, in this context, no such claim exists under New York law.

The court also held that these expressions were no so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. Thus, there was no case for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Scialdone v DeRosa  (March 1, 2017)