Damon lost his right arm and part of his left arm while on National Guard duty in Iraq in 2003. While awaiting surgery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., he was interviewed by Brian Williams of NBC about a new pain blocker he was receiving. Damon consented to the interview's broadcast on Nightly News but not to its use elsewhere. Nonetheless, NBC allowed Moore to use it in the documentary, which was critical of President Bush and the Iraq war. The 16-second clip showed Damon describing the pain he had felt in his hands.
In his lawsuit, Damon claimed the film was an attack on the integrity of the Commander-in-Chief and on the Armed Forces and he alleged that his appearance in it defamed him by falsely portraying him as sharing and endorsing Moore's views. On appeal after the trial court dismissed the case, the 1st Circuit affirmed the dismissal, ruling that his appearance in the film was not susceptible to a defamatory meaning either within the community at large or within the community of military personnel and veterans.
"While we appreciate Damon's anger and frustration over appearing without his consent in a documentary that stands in direct contrast to his own personal and political beliefs, we conclude that his appearance in the documentary is not reasonably susceptible of a defamatory meaning. ... Since Damon's appearance was not reasonably susceptible to a defamatory meaning under Massachusetts law, we need not reach the question of whether being falsely labeled either pro- or anti-war, as a matter of law, holds a member of the military up to the type of scorn and ridicule required for a defamation claim."The full decision can be read here.