Question: Daniel DeNardo and Joy Bax had been co workers at Alaska
Daniel DeNardo and Joy Bax had been co-workers at Alaska Newspapers, Inc. (ANI). After DeNardo no longer worked for ANI, he filed a defamation lawsuit against Bax because she had told other employees of the company she was "worried" that DeNardo was "stalking" her. DeNardo contended that he had not stalked Bax and that her statements were therefore false. Bax moved for summary judgment, arguing that her statements were not false because they were based on her own observations and subjective concern that DeNardo was following and possibly stalking her. She also asserted that her conversations with co-workers were conditionally privileged because co-workers share a common interest in workplace safety. DeNardo countered by arguing that Bax had abused any conditional privilege to which she might otherwise have been entitled. An Alaska trial court granted Bax's summary judgment motion, concluding that Bax's statements to co-workers were conditionally privileged and that DeNardo had not produced evidence demonstrating abuse of the privilege. DeNardo appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court. Were Bax's statements conditionally privileged? If so, what would DeNardo have needed to prove in order to establish abuse of the conditional privilege? How did the Alaska Supreme Court rule?
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