The president of the Seascape Homeowners Association in Galveston, Texas, is suing a homeowner for ten million bucks after the homeowner circulated an email to fellow homeowners called the president “arrogant, incompetent, dishonest, and harassing.”
President Ron Benotti is suing homeowner Richard Alan Collier. Collier alleged that Benotti mishandled a project to restore beaches in the area.
The really surprising thing here is that the court didn’t throw this case out long ago based on the ‘public figure’ rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. Once a person goes public by running for office or otherwise inserting himself into public discussions it’s nearly impossible to successfully sue for libel and/or slander. It’s the one thing that protects news agencies from lawsuits when they inspect the private behavior of public officials.
Benotti’s lawyers had to have told him that his lawsuit will never survive against the public figure argument. His defamation suit is nothing more than a SLAPP lawsuit designed to cost the defendant his life savings and shut him up.
For shame, Benotti and your phalanx of HOA paid-for lawyers! For shame!