New York --- Time Inc. and another unit of AOL Time Warner Inc. have persuaded a federal appeals panel to uphold the dismissal of a libel suit brought by the Church of Scientology International. The lawsuit stemmed from a 1991 cover story in Time magazine titled ''Scientology: The Cult of Greed,'' which called Scientology ''a ruthless global scam.''
The 7,500-word story by journalist Richard Behar said the church survives by ''intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner,'' and called Scientology a ''ruthless . . . terroristic'' cult.
The church sued Behar, Time and Time Warner for libel, claiming that these and other statements were defamatory.