A restaurant owner says a judge was wrong to dismiss his defamation lawsuit against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and is taking the case to Ontario's highest court.

George Foulidis sued Ford over comments he made to a newspaper — when he was a city councillor — suggesting an untendered, 20-year leasing deal between Foulidis's company and the city was corrupt and that it "stinks to high heaven."

A judge dismissed the lawsuit in December 2012, ruling that Foulidis did not prove the comments were directed at him or that they were defamatory.

In documents filed with Ontario's Appeal Court, Foulidis argues that the judge wrongly zeroed in on an additional comment Ford made, saying "I can't accuse anyone or I can't pinpoint it."

Foulidis says the overall tenor of Ford's comments is defamatory and his additional remark doesn't neutralize what Foulidis calls the false and damaging allegations.

The appeal is tentatively scheduled to be heard May 20 and Ford has not yet filed his responding documents.