A judge dismissed one of seven defamation lawsuits filed against Bill Cosby by alleged victims. On Thursday, Penn. federal judge Arthur J. Schwab sided with the comedian in a case brought by Renita Chaney Hill. The case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it can’t be "amended and refiled," according to the BBC.
Hill, along with seven other accusers, filed defamation suits against the 78-year-old actor in October claiming he damaged their reputations by referring to them as extortionists and liars. CNN reports that Hill cited three specific instances when The Cosby Show creator slandered her character, including an interview with The Washington Post where Cosby’s attorney said the victims are telling “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”
Judge Schwab, however, found that all of Cosby’s statements are "pure opinion" protected by the First Amendment.
"Even considering these three statements together as a combined, single statement, this newly 'conjoined' statement does not lead to an inference that the plaintiff is a 'liar and an extortionist," Schwab concluded.
In a statement obtained by CNN, Cosby’s attorneys commended the judge’s ruling.
"None of the facts alleged by [Hill] supported her claims for defamation, false light, or intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law," the statement said. "It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner."
George Kontos is Hill’s lawyer. He plans to appeal the decision, according to CNN.
"We are disappointed, but remain committed to seeking justice in this matter. We strongly disagree with the judge's reasoning that Cosby's statements are constitutionally protected opinions," Kontos said.
Cosby, who is currently out on $1 million bail, has filed a countersuit against the alleged victims suing him for defamation. He is seeking unspecified monetary compensation.