Charleston Office Obtains Summary Judgment of Defamation and False Imprisonment Claims on Behalf of Vet Clinic

January 2024

Charleston Managing Partner Peter Siachos and Associate William Blount successfully obtained summary judgment on behalf of a veterinary clinic in the Anderson County Court of Court of Common Pleas. 

The plaintiff, a veterinarian, asserted causes of action for negligence, false imprisonment, false arrest, malicious prosecution, and defamation against the clinic after he was arrested for the ill-treatment of animals following a report the clinic made to local authorities. Unlike many jurisdictions, South Carolina does not grant immunity to veterinarians who report suspected animal abuse. In the motion for summary judgment, the team successfully argued that the existence of probable cause to believe the plaintiff violated the relevant criminal code and the truth of the statements made by the client’s staff extinguished all of the plaintiff’s claims. 

After extensive briefing and oral argument, the court agreed, dismissing the claims against the veterinary clinic with prejudice. Summary judgment is rarely granted in South Carolina, and the client and firm are pleased to have obtained this result.