Court of Appeals Summary:
This opinion replaces one filed on March 31, 2009, which opinion was withdrawn by us "and held for naught" by order of April 21, 2009. The joint complaint filed by the plaintiffs, Timmy Sykes and Curtis Greene, who are African-Americans, actually involves the independent claims of the two plaintiffs against their former employer, the Chattanooga Housing Authority ("the CHA" or "CHA"), and the plaintiffs' supervisor in that employment, Jeff Hazelwood, Chief of the CHA's Public Safety Department, for wrongful termination of their employment and other claims. Sykes, who was a CHA criminal investigator, was terminated by the CHA on September 30, 2004, and Greene, also a criminal investigator, was terminated on January 19, 2005. They each seek damages for wrongful termination, asserting two theories of recovery. Sykes also seeks damages from Chief Hazelwood for alleged defamatory statements made by him and both plaintiffs sue Hazelwood for interfering with their CHA employment. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment which the trial court granted as to all claims. The plaintiffs appeal. They raise three issues in common and Sykes complains of the trial court's judgment with respect to his defamation claim. We affirm in part and vacate in part.