Ridiculous Lawsuit of the Day

The Democratic Party of Georgia, I’ve been told, is currently holding a press conference to discuss its ridiculous lawsuit.

Rashad Richey, DPG political director, is the plaintiff in the case against two local bloggers, Melanie Goux and Andre Walker, and a third party (I’ll get to that later).

Andre, on his blog, had a post listing public records of Richey’s arrests, but no convictions or proof. Andre might have some problems because he did call Richey a “criminal” in the title, but IANAL so, whatever. Ms. Goux posted a letter from Chairman Berlon to the State Committee specifically related to a news story being done on Andre’s post, with her own analysis and take on everything.

I don’t know what the suit is calling for or anything like that but considering they are being sued qua “owner and webmaster” of their blogs I would assume it is for that.

Which makes the third party interesting. It is Jane Bradshaw who was removed from the DPG Executive Committee by Berlon after she said she no longer supported Chairman Berlon to lead the DPG. She doesn’t even read blogs. So why is she being included in the lawsuit? I have no idea. She had no comment.

An interesting point about the lawsuit, the firm Mr. Richey hired is the one started by Ashley Bell who rather infamously switched parties in 2010, IIRC.


  1. Doug Deal says:

    Boy, if George W Bush could sue for the same grounds, he would be the world’s first trillionaire.

    I guess one of Andre’s defenses would be through discovery to prove the allegations are true, since that is the best and most straight forward defense.

    Because of these kind of suits can undermine the first amendment, any frivolous libel suit (one in which the facts behind the statements can be proven) should award the defendant the damages sought by the plantiff, plus fines, attorney’s fees and all costs of the suit. Perhaps the plantiff should have to swear that the statements are known to be absolutley false before filing suit and if they turn out to be true later, throw them in jail for perjury.

    • smvaughn says:

      Georgia has an “anti-SLAPP” statute (SLAPP = strategic lawsuits against public participation) that requires plaintiffs & their attorneys in cases such as these to file affidavits swearing that they are not asserting the action to stifle free speech/the right to petition/etc… While it won’t result in perjury charges, it does provide for an avenue for defendants to recover attorneys’ fees & other sanctions against both the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney.

      • Doug Deal says:

        It is a start, but it should really be stronger. If a plantiff cannot swear to that the exact statements are untrue, then it is clearly not libel.

    • sunkawakan says:

      Doug, I think it’s fair to say that most U.S. Presidents would be trillionaires.

  2. smvaughn says:

    The First Amendment raises a lot of hurdles to this case getting very far, and even from a PR perspective it’s probably not going to end well for Richey. Assuming the defendant didn’t just make up all of the arrests out of thin air, then this is the sort of case you love to defend as an attorney.

    • GAPolitico says:

      Andre used a very specific legal term – recidivist. It has a legal definition that Richey does not meet. Therefore, Andre put in writing a lie that was meant to hurt Richey’s career and get him fired from his current job. He acted with malice while spreading lies about Richey. The first amendment does offer protections, but it does not offer protections for malicious lying – at least that I know of. I’m not a lawyer – but I did take a few Con Law classes.

      • bucky says:

        Excuse me? Recidivist is a common word whose meanings include anyone who continues to engage in undesirable behavior. Would you deny that Richey has, over the years, continued to have the run-ins with the legal system that Andre documented?

          • SallyForth says:

            I don’t know about legalese, but according to Mr. Webster, it has a common generic definition of “one who relapses.” Since Andre isn’t an attorney (to my knowledge) his use of the word would have to be everyday common English.

      • smvaughn says:

        After reading the complaint I gathered this would be Richey’s argument. The problem with it is that defamation law doesn’t nitpick. It deals with “substantial truth.” Thus, the question is what effect the words used have on their listeners. And the typical person who hears “criminal” and “recidivist” doesn’t differentiate between felonies and misdemeanors, or felonies that were expunged from the record versus those that were not.

        Also, you say the First Amendment doesn’t protect “malicious lying,” but the sort of “maliciousness” that must be shown isn’t your run of the mill “intent to do harm.” It’s a term of art that requires a much higher standard — one that is intentionally set so high that almost no plaintiff to whom it applies will be able to overcome it.

      • Doug Grammer says:

        Butter, but no cheese, please. I’ll also take a nice cold Coke a cola product too. Thank you. (HEY NO TALKING, I’M WATCHING THE TRAIN WRECK, I MEAN THE DPG.)

  3. SallyForth says:

    This is all crazy! In any normal business situation, wouldn’t an employee with personal problems rising to the level of suing somebody and all the distractions involved simply take a leave of absence from their job until they cleared things up and were able to give total concentration to the work for which they are paid? ‘Never heard of it being the other way around, with the employer instead focusing on one employee’s personal life, calling news conferences re actions not connected with the business, etc.

    Big question: How many legislative candidates have they recruited and prepared to run as Democrats this year? There are a number of vacant seats around the state, and qualifying is only a couple of weeks away….

    • Napoleon says:

      On behalf of Republicans everywhere, I want to thank the members of the DPG for electing this moron for those exact reasons.

        • SallyForth says:

          What is the “political director” of a state political party? I think they both (R & D) have an executive director who directs/runs the administrative operation. And the whole business of a political party is by definition “political.” So if either the R’s or D’s have an executive director, what does a political director do – wouldn’t that be redundant?

          • Mrs. Adam Kornstein says:

            DPG no longer has a ED, she resigned back in Feb I believe. One doesn’t have to wonder why. Presently there is no money to hire someone new, and now with this it’s unlikely they would be able to attract anyone good even if they had the omen.

            Also gone is the development team, and county party liaison staffer. Folks can look forward to bake sales and car washes to raise money.

            Typically a Political Director would be involved in strategic decisions around candidate recruitment, development of key voter constituencies and targeted races.

            • Calypso says:

              The DPG can now meet comfortably within the spacious confines of a telephone booth, providing they still exist (telephone booths that is, although…).

              • SallyForth says:

                I heard they miraculously had a pretty big turnout at their Jefferson-Jackson dinner a week or two ago. Does anybody on here actually know?

          • Ed says:

            They apply, the chair selects them. There is usually some review by the ED or Exec Committee

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