The Virginia Court of Appeals ruled that allegedly defamatory statements on a circulating petition to remove a homeowner’s association president lacked the sufficient “sting” to effectively harm the plaintiff’s professional reputation as a licensed attorney/business owner.

In a Feb. 14 opinion, the appeals court affirmed a circuit court’s ruling dismissing defamation claims brought by the plaintiff, Theodore Theologis, an attorney who owns a real estate brokerage and property management company. Theologis, who was also elected to serve as president for a three-year term in 2020 for his homeowners’ association, sued five fellow townhome association members, Mark Weiler, Patricia James, Daria Collins, Khai Wisler and Janis Baldwin, for allegedly criticizing his performance and encouraging other homeowners to vote him out of office, the opinion said.

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