A federal appeals court last week dismissed a lawsuit claiming that former Santa Monica Mayor Ruth Yannatta Goldway slandered a political opponent.
Goldway was sued by Ilse Koch, a Santa Monica landlord who alleged that the former mayor had suggested that Koch was the same Ilse Koch who is wanted for Nazi war crimes.
Goldway, who denies making the statement, is a rent-control proponent who served as mayor from 1981 to 1983.
The 9th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court ruling that dismissed the suit. While the alleged comment made by Goldway "is nothing more than a vicious slur," it is merely an opinion and not grounds for a lawsuit, the court said.
"In this case, if the mayor chose to get in the gutter, the law simply leaves her there," Judge Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for a three-judge panel that heard the appeal.