Steam Press Holdings, Inc. v. Hawaii Teamsters & Allied Workers Union, 302 F.3d 998 (9th Cir. 2002)

During the course of a labor dispute, union president Mel Kahele told a number of employees of the company (Steam Press Holdings, Inc.) that the owner of the company, Michael Drace, was “making money” and “hiding it in Steam Press.” Drace sued Kahele for defamation, among other things, and the district court awarded him $50,000 to compensate him for injury to his reputation and $50,000 in emotional distress damages. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment, holding that Kahele’s statements about Drace were an expression of opinion (“a call to arms”) and not of fact and were not susceptible of being proved true or false.