We've provided evidence in a previous post that examined some of the cases Judge Claud Neilson cited to supposedly show that a preliminary injunction is a proper remedy in a defamation case.
A review of the court file indicates lawyers from Riley's own firm, especially Jay Murrill, wrote pretty much all of the orders in the case; that means they dug up the cases that Neilson cited. We've shown that four of the cited cases do not remotely say what Team Riley claims they say. Now we will take a look at the remaining nine cases--and then we will show how the results of our examination suggest that the case was rigged from the get-go.
This is a rare opportunity for the public to see exactly how corrupt lawyers, with a judge in their hip pocket, commit fraud in our taxpayer-funded courts. Join us for an unusual ride in journalism, the kind you likely never have, and never will, find in the mainstream press. We pick up with the fifth case cited in Neilson's preliminary-injunction order (which can be seen at the end of this post).
Remember these cases are purported to show that a preliminary-injunction is a proper and lawful remedy in a defamation. Do they say that? Let's take a look:
(5) American University of Antigua College of Medicine v. Woodward, 837 Fed. Supp. 2d 686 (E.D. Michigan, 2011)
Background--A medical school sued a former student, who started a Web site to voice dissatisfaction about his experience at the school.
Key holding--The court held that the student, by failing to respond properly to a Request for Admissions, had admitted that certain items on his Web site were false. The court held that those items had been judicially determined to be false and granted the school a permanent injunction on them. The court held that other items were not actionable defamation and denied the school summary judgment on those. In its opinion, the Court initially denied injunctive relief and cited “the First Amendment’s ‘heavy presumption’ against prior restraints” and “‘nearly two centuries of widespread acceptance at common law . . . that equity will not enjoin a defamation.’” That opinion changed, however, when the court determined that the student (Woodward) had admitted certain statements were false, leading to a permanent injunction.
Our verdict--We have found no evidence that Woodward appealed this ruling, but he probably would have succeeded because there was no finding at trial that his statements were false and defamatory. The court acknowledged that a preliminary injunction in a defamation case is unlawful, but granted a permanent injunction based on Woodward's failure to timely respond to a Request for Admissions. This is a peculiar outcome, and a higher court almost certainly would overturn it on appeal.
(6) Bluemile Inc. v. Yourcolo LLC, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXUS 62178 (S.D Ohio, 2011)
Background--An Internet technology services company in Ohio sued a competitor, claiming it had violated a registered trademark and made false statements.
Key holding--The court granted a temporary restraining order, based largely on trademark and cybersquatting grounds. The order also appears to enjoin statements that were not found to be defamatory at trial, but the court makes no finding regarding prior restraint or other constitutional issues.
Our verdict--It's unclear if this ruling was appealed, but it makes no citation to law regarding a preliminary injunction in a defamation case. Our research indicates the case was settled.
(7) Eppley v. Iacovelli, 209 WL 1035265 (SD Ind., 2009)
Background--A plastic surgeon in Indiana sought a preliminary injunction against a former patient who published numerous Web pages and videos claiming the surgeon caused a number of ailments.
Key holding--The patient lived in Massachusetts and did not respond to the surgeon's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction, so the district court granted it. The patient (Iacovelli) filed a notice of appeal in December 2009, but she died in 2010, so the constitutional issues in her case went largely unaddressed.
Our verdict--As a document from a Missouri case points out, Eppley was an unreported opinion, with no precedential value, and it apparently was rendered based largely on allegations that the patient had violated stalking, harassment, and extortion laws. According to the record, the patient received a negative outcome because she failed to respond to the surgeon's request for a preliminary injunction--and she died before issues raised in her appeal could be heard.
(8) International Profit Associates v. Paisola, 461 F. Supp 2d, 672 (ND Ill., 2006
Background--A business-consulting company in Illinois sued, claiming a financial-services company had violated trademark, copyright, eavesdropping, and cyberpiracy laws, also alleging defamation.
Key holding--The court issued a narrow temporary restraining order on some issues, but noted that a broad prohibition against speech would run afoul of prior restraint provisions and the First Amendment.
Our verdict--This is another business case decided primarily on trademark and cyberpiracy grounds, a growing issue in the Internet age. It makes no finding on constitutional issues related to defamation.
(9) Evans v. Evans, WL 5490538 (Cal. Sup. Ct., 2007)
Background--A deputy sheriff sued his former wife, alleging harassment, defamation, and breach of privacy.
Key holding--The trial court granted a preliminary injunction on all claims. The injunction regarding defamation was overturned on appeal because it was found to be an improper prior restraint.
Our verdict--Evans holds exactly the opposite of what Team Riley claims. It found a preliminary injunction to be "constitutionally invalid."
(10) Griffis v. Luban, WL 338139 (Minn. Ct. App., 2002)
Background--An Alabama expert on Egyptian history (Griffis) brought a defamation action against a Minnesota resident over comments made in an Internet news group about archaeology.
Key holding--The Minnesota resident (Luban) did not respond to the action in Jefferson County, Alabama, circuit court, leading to a default judgment. The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed, finding the Alabama court had no personal jurisdiction over Luban.
Our verdict--This case was decided on jurisdictional grounds, with no findings on constitutional issues related to defamation.
(11) Apex Technology Group v. Doe, MID-L 7878-09 (NJ Superior Court, 2009)
Background--The principal of a technology company sued various unknown individuals, seeking removal of posts at certain Web forums.
Key holding--The court issued an order directing the websites' upstream hosts to disable access to the websites, and ordering Facebook, Yahoo! and Comcast to disclose the identity of the individual behind two email addresses associated with www.endH1b.com that plaintiffs alleged had included defamatory postings in an email newsletter. Information about the case is sparse, but the court apparently granted one defendant's Motion to Dismiss and lifted its earlier order.
Our verdict--The court's original ruling received heavy criticism from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which called it "deeply dangerous and wrong." The court apparently came to its senses and lifted an order that has no support in the law.
(12) Bat World Sanctuary v. Cummins, No. 352-248169-10 (Dist. Ct., Texas, 2011)
Background--A nonprofit dedicated to the rehabilitation of injured and ailing bats sued a former intern who filed complaints with a government agency about conditions at the sanctuary and also wrote negative comments at several Web sites.
Key holding--After a four-day bench trial, the court found for Bat World on the defamation claim.
Our verdict--This case involved defamation, but it had nothing to do with a preliminary injunction. The former intern (Cummins) was found liable for defamation at trial, so prior restraint never was an issue.
(13) Cullum v. White, WL-3333056 (Ct. App. TX, 2010)
Background--The owner of an exotic game ranch sued a former ranch hand who made derogatory comments about the operation in e-mails and on a Web site.
Key holding--A jury found the former ranch hand (Cullum) liable for defamation. On appeal, the trial court's permanent injunction was set aside.
Our verdict--Like the Bat World Sanctuary case, Cullum simply was a defamation case that went to trial. It did not involve constitutional questions about preliminary injunctions and prior restraints.
So there, you have it--13 cases, none of which have precedential value in Alabama, and none of which says a preliminary injunction is a proper remedy in a case of alleged defamation. That means Team Riley goes 0-13 in its legal research, for a batting average of .000.
What can we draw from this? For one, it appears there are some really bad lawyers at the Riley Jackson firm. But more importantly, common sense indicates no one at the firm took research on this subject seriously. Why would that be? I can think of only one reason--the firm's lawyers knew Judge Neilson was in the bag, on their side, and that meant they were going to prevail whether they did legitimate research or not.
We hope readers appreciate what this post, and the one that preceded it, has done. It has shown--probably for the first time in Alabama history and maybe for the first time in U.S. history--exactly how a law firm and a corrupt judge colluded to cheat a litigant. And this wasn't a mild cheat job; it was one that caused the litigant to lose five months of his freedom.
This goes way beyond the hardships this brought on me and my wife. If you live in Alabama, your taxpayer dollars supported this con game. It was carried out, from beginning to end, in publicly funded facilities, with publicly funded resources.
If you live in Alabama and that doesn't make you at least a little bit angry, you might want to check your pulse.