Defamation claim is dismissed because mayor enjoys immunity for calling employee a "liar."
The mayor of Potterville in Eaton County became embroiled in a dispute with the City Treasurer and Deputy Treasurer, who criticized the city manager's bookkeeping practices. The mayor, Julia Nelson, eventually called the Deputy Treasurer, Donna Hannahs a "liar" in an exchange questioning whether Hannahs had disclosed to another city employee that a closed meeting had been held at the last council meeting. Hannahs was later fired after no wrongdoing was attributed to the city manager, and Hannahs sued Nelson for defamation. The Court concluded that whether or not Nelson had defamed Hannahs by calling her a liar, the comment, as part of an ongoing public investigation, was cloaked in governmental immunity. She was "the highest elected official of the city and acting in her legislative capacity as a member of the City Council when she made the challenged remark."