A radio talk host who asked a woman whose brother had been acquitted of criminally negligent homicide how it felt to have a “cold-blooded murderer” as a sibling is immune from a defamation suit because his remarks were “obviously intended to be caustic and confrontational, rather than factual,” the Appellate Division, Fourth Department, has held in Gisel v. Clear Channel Communications, 11-01968. The panel concluded that Rochester-area talk show host Robert Lonsberry’s statements were “nonactionable expressions of pure opinion.”

The dispute involved a conversation that Lonsberry had on air with a woman whose brother was found not guilty of a homicide charge brought in connection with a hunting accident. Lonsberry opined that the incident could not have been an accident and asked the woman whether her brother “put a notch in the stock of his gun as he kills people.”