Daily Kos: Sued blogger strikes back and wins!

The blogger strikes back!
by Carl Nyberg
Mon Jan 02, 2006 at 08:30:53 AM PDT

On Thursday, December 29, 2005 my lawyers (Latham & Watkins) filed a motion for sanctions against the politician suing me for defamation and his law firm.

Yes, the president of the local school board, Emanuel "Chris" Welch, and his brother sued me for defamation based on entries on my blog, Proviso Probe.

The Daily Kos community was immediately supportive. (First diary & second diary.) I remain thankful for all the help I got from the dKos community.

* Carl Nyberg's diary :: ::

From the motion:
Illinois Supreme Court Rules prohibit attorneys from signing pleadings not "well grounded in fact" or "warranted by existing law of a good-faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law," or from filing pleadings "for any improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation."

The motion asks for the suits to be dismissed with prejudice--the plaintiffs cannot re-file--and for the judge to rule the plaintiffs must pay legal fees.

I posted most of the motion in three parts. The first part is the history of Welch and James J. Roche, the head of his law firm, using these bad-faith lawsuits to stifle speech by critics. The second part includes some of the choice excerpts from the motion. The third entry has the table of contents and conclusion.

One of my New Years resolutions is to push the Illinois legislature to pass anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) legislation. Merely allowing defendants to invoke the rule against frivolous lawsuits is not enough of a disincentive to prevent these abuses. Welch and Roche are clear examples that the existing rules are too weak to prevent the abuses.

If I didn't have Latham & Watkins representing me pro bono, I would not have the resources to pursue a Rule 137 violation. For most people without vast wealth, it's not worth it. The defendant has to spend tens of thousands of dollars that s/he may not recover. So attorneys like Welch and Roche bully activists into silence.Daily Kos: The blogger strikes back!


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