WASHINGTON COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Six ladies concerned in a defamation lawsuit filed by the previous proprietor of Off Leash K9 have had their instances towards them dismissed.
Randolyn “Randi” LaFerney filed a defamation lawsuit towards 10 people and Washington County, Tennessee on June 5, 2020.
LaFerney beforehand confronted animal cruelty fees in relation to the dying of a canine that occurred at her facility, Off Leash K9. These fees had been dismissed towards LaFerney.
She can be suing the county for the claimed negligent hiring, coaching and supervision of Nicole Stuwa, an animal management officer. Stuwa is likely one of the six defendants towards who the case was dismissed.
Based on court docket paperwork obtained by Information Channel 11, the next folks had the lawsuit towards them dismissed:
Janet Keener – False Gentle Invasion, Malicious Prosecution, Intentional Interference with Enterprise Relations, Libel, Civil Conspiracy
Paezha Marae McCartt – False Gentle Invasion, Malicious Prosecution, Intentional Interference with Enterprise Relations, Libel, Civil Conspiracy
Kim Livesay – False Gentle Invasion, Malicious Prosecution, Intentional Interference with Enterprise Relations, Libel, Civil Conspiracy (2 counts)
Lourienne Lengthy – False Gentle Invasion, Intentional Interference with Enterprise Relations, Libel, Civil Conspiracy
Tammy Davis – Malicious Prosecution, Intentional Interference with Enterprise Relations, Civil Conspiracy
Nicole Stuwa – Malicious Prosecution
A memorandum opinion and order filed in Washington County Circuit Courtroom on December 10 says the fees towards the six ladies had been dismissed underneath a mix of motions to dismiss and petitions to dismiss underneath the Tennessee Public Participation Act (TPPA).
The TPPA, adopted in 2019, primarily offers extra safety to public speech associated to matter of public concern and is designed to encourage and defend free speech as outlined by each the U.S. and Tennessee Constitutions.
The memorandum says that in every of those six instances, LaFerney was both unable to offer proof that false statements had been made or show that they’d made statements that led to LaFerney dealing with fees.
Keener was accused by LaFerney for her alleged creation of a web-based petition asking for justice for the deceased canine. The court docket discovered that since no false statements had been made or any data was unfold that was not already public document, Keener’s petitions for dismissal had been granted.
“No a part of Keener’s communication is ‘defamatory.’ Her on-line posting is at most annoying, offensive, or embarrassing and doesn’t represent a critical risk to the plaintiff’s repute. To supply substantial respiration room to advertise free speech, unfettered communication, and commentary on problems with public significance, statements which might be merely ‘annoying, offensive or embarrassing’, are usually not actionable,” the choose wrote within the court docket doc.
The memorandum additionally mentioned Keener’s on-line statements had been examples “emotionally charged rhetoric,” that are constitutionally protected.
The evaluation of Keener’s petition and movement to dismiss was used as a precedent for the opposite 5, all of whom have now had their fees dismissed resulting from LaFerney’s incapability to offer proof that they’d made false statements, harmed her enterprise, dedicated any kind of conspiracy or inflicted actual hurt to her repute.
Based on the circuit clerk’s workplace, the complete lawsuit has not been dismissed. Solely the six ladies listed above have had the instances towards them dismissed.
Candise Lejeune, Hannah Carley, Ashley Vaughn West and Amy Bryant are all nonetheless concerned within the lawsuit, in addition to Washington County.
You possibly can learn the complete memorandum beneath: