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Question over spirit in which statements were made is enough for jury to deliberate

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A defamation suit against an employee will proceed following the Indiana Court of Appeals' finding that there is doubt as to what conclusion a jury could reach in determining whether statements were made in good faith and without malice.

Between August 2009 and July 2010, a series of articles appeared in a Whitley County newspaper about Coupled Products’ proposed move of equipment from an Ohio facility to Columbia City. On Sept. 16, 2009, one article contained a number of statements that Coupled contended were false.

The company believed Janice Brandom, an employee and chair of the UAW Local 2049’s bargaining committee, made the statements.

Coupled sued Brandom for defamation, submitting evidence to contradict the statements she allegedly made to the paper. Brandom moved to dismiss pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute on the grounds the statements were made in furtherance of her right of free speech in connection with an issue of public interest.

The trial court denied Brandom’s motion to dismiss.

The COA affirmed the ruling in Janice Brandom v. Coupled Products, LLC, 92A03-1112-PL-542. The court found her statements were in the public interest but there is a genuine issue of fact as to whether Brandom knew her statements were false, entertained serious doubts as to their truth, or made the statements with reckless disregard of whether they were false.

In his dissent, Judge Michael Barnes argued the evidence does not establish that Brandom acted in bad faith or without a reason basis in law and fact.

“The good faith requirement should and must be present, but in this context, with collective bargaining in play, I believe Brandom’s conversation with the reporter was had in good faith. Remember, too, there is no direct quote in the article in question and the reporter was free to, and undoubtedly did, capsulize, summarize, and characterize the conversation. In my view, the anti-SLAPP statute provides protection in such instances.”

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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