In Yeatts v. Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc., No. 16-CV-706 (N.D. Ind. Apr. 17, 2017), plaintiff sued Zimmer Biomet for defamation based on an email about sanctions following an internal investigation. In 2012, defendant had entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) based on violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) arising from payments made by defendant’s distributor, Prosintese, to government-employed doctors in Argentina who used Biomet products. According to the complaint, defendant violated the DPA by maintaining a relationship with Prosintese and, when defendant became aware that Yeatts knew about the DPA breach, a company attorney accused him of continuing to deal with Prosintese and concealing that from his superiors, even though Yeatts explained to the attorney that he had been acting with his superiors’ knowledge and approval. Yeatts was suspended and later terminated. Yeatts alleged that during his suspension, defendant’s Chief Compliance Officer and General Counsel (GC) sent an email to certain personnel stating that defendant had “identified several entities that pose significant and unacceptable compliance risks,” and included Yeatts’s name on an attached “Restricted Parties List,” which also stated Yeatts had been “suspended in connection with a corruption-related investigation.” Defendant moved to dismiss Yeatts’s defamation claim on the basis that the GC’s statements were neither defamatory nor false, as they merely expressed the GC’s opinion. The court considered the circumstances surrounding the GC’s statement because opinions are only shielded from liability if a reasonable recipient of the statement would understand it to be an opinion, not a statement of fact. Here, the court found that Yeatts sufficiently plead the statement’s falsity because defendant had implicitly implicated Yeatts in FCPA violations by identifying him as posing significant and unacceptable compliance risk. Therefore a reasonable recipient of the email would connect Yeatts to defendant’s criminal activities, especially if, as alleged, the recipients had knowledge of the FCPA investigation and DPA. The court also found that Yeatts successfully alleged that the statement was made with malice, as he plead that defendant was aware that Yeatts had acted with defendant’s approval and thus knew the email was false. Accordingly, the court denied defendant’s motion to dismiss Yeatts’s defamation claim.