NY court: Ex-ball boys can sue Boeheim for slander

Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim reacts during the first half of a third-round game against the Dayton in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., Saturday, March 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert)
Bill Wippert

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's highest court has reinstated the slander lawsuit by two former Syracuse University ball boys against basketball head coach Jim Boeheim.

Bobby Davis and Mike Lang say Boeheim slandered them in 2011 by calling them liars out for money when they accused his longtime assistant coach Bernie Fine of molesting them as children.

A judge dismissed the suit last year, ruling Boeheim's comments were not assertions of fact but opinions protected from defamation lawsuits. A midlevel court agreed.

Fine denied the allegations and never faced criminal charges.

The Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that they cannot conclude Boeheim's statements were ''pure opinion'' and that there's ''a reasonable view'' that Davis and Lang would be entitled to recover damages for defamation.

The lawyers say the case will now return to trial court.

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