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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. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  2. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  3. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

  4. Sounds like overkill to me, too. Do the feds not have enough "real" crime to keep them busy?

  5. We live in the world that has become wider in sense of business and competition. Everything went into the Web in addition to the existing physical global challenges in business. I heard that one of the latest innovations is moving to VDR - cloud-based security-protected repositories. Of course virtual data rooms comparison is required if you want to pick up the best one.

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