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Since Gossip column items in The Daily News about the bitter dispute between entertainer Melba Moore and her ex-husband, Charles Huggins, included factual statements — not just protected opinions — a jury must decide whether the items defamed Mr. Huggins, a state appellate court ruled yesterday in reinstating his libel suit.

The Appellate Division, First Department, in Huggins v. Moore unanimously reversed Justice Elliott Wilk’s 1997 dismissal of Mr. Huggins’ libel claims against The Daily News and its former gossip columnist, Linda Stasi. The four-judge panel said Justice Wilk erred by finding that all of the challenged statements in three of Ms. Stasi’s columns published in June and July 1993 were nonactionable expressions of opinion.

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