Steve Theriot's lawsuit against bloggers ripples across the blogosphere and media. UPDATED 3X

Fox 8 WVUE New Orleans

Folks we’re very gratified by the outpouring of support we’ve received in the comments here on Slabbed, on Twitter, from other journalists and the NOLA Blogosphere. We have a few stops to make this morning and we’ll begin with Val Bracy’s story which aired last night on Fox 8:

Jefferson Parish and Interim Parish President Steve Theriot filed suit Friday in order to get the identities of people who have written critical comments on two blogs. “I think the goal is to silence people that have been publishing very insightful commentary on the internet regarding the workings of parish government,” said Doug Handshoe, co-creator of the blog spot Slabbed. Handshoe and his partner started Slabbed in 2007 as an informational outlet for voters, mostly in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Thankfully the video report and “mug shot” did not make the WVUE website but Fox 8’s legal analyst Joe Raspanti was no doubt scratching his head (as were many others) as we continue:

Fox 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti says Theriot and the parish will have a tough time on two fronts: Nola.com and Slabbed are not likely to give up their commenters’ information easily and proving the case may not be easy either.

“It’s tougher if you’re a public figure because a public figure has to prove that not only was it a lie, or is incorrect, but they have to prove that you knew it and maliciously said it anyway,” said Raspanti.

Handshoe says the lawsuit won’t effect how he runs his blog.

“It’s the taxpayers money in Jefferson Parish that’s funding the suit, which I think is designed to intimidate bloggers and internet commenters into silence regarding the political corruptions scandal that’s ongoing in the parish,” said Handshoe.

Dambala at American Zombie has been here, done this and he wrote a post where he gives Mr Theriot some friendly blogger to politician advice.  Here is a snippet:

I have a friend who grew up somewhere in the middle of the gret stet. He once told me a story about an enterprising sheriff from his home parish who decided he was going to convert the local public pool into a catfish farm. He had all the free labor he needed from parish inmates…figured all he had to do was fill that cement pond up with catfish and he’d be pulling in the dough. So he rounded up a bunch of young whiskerlips and dumped ’em in the pool. You know what I’m going to say next don’t you? Yeah…he didn’t de-chlorinate it so he ended up with a nice stinky mess on his hands.

I used to think that was the dumbest thing a Louisiana public official ever did.

Well, I guess I underestimated Steve Theriot.

It gets better as Dambala rightfully wonders why the gang focuses on a frivolous defamation suit against anonymous bloggers instead of the Oil coming in thanks to BP’s little fuck up as we continue:

In case you didn’t get the fucking memo….you have a catastrophic situation on your hands. I’m just wondering how you guys currently have the time to draft a lawsuit against bloggers and website commenters. Was that something you knocked off between disaster preparedness and rebidding insurance contracts?

I’m also wondering who the fucking idiots were who thought that was a good idea. Do you even realize what you’re attempting to do? Any chance of success you have in this lawsuit would have to be heard by the Supreme Court….and I got news for you, brah…you ain’t gonna make it half that far. I suppose you could try and spring Bodenheimer and buy a judgment in your favor, I’m sure J.P. still has some judges on the royal payroll…but whoever the parish attorney was who told you to move forward with this probably should have checked with a real attorney or even a law student before he/she convinced you to try and hold back the sea, King Canute.

In looking for the NOLA.com news story link on Damabala’s scrape with that punk ass NOLA assistant city attorney Bob Ellis I ran across another of Dambala’s older posts which I thought was a hoot given that Lawrence Zeilinger name showed up in the comments to the post  and it was no doubt Lawrence’s use of the term “skank”  that was the final straw for the Yenni gang as we visit with Dambala again:

……..Four important hurdles he has to overcome to prevail to win such a ridiculous “libel” lawsuit are (1) He has the burden of proof to show the alleged defamatory statements made by Jason Berry are untrue; (2) He also has the burden to show that those statements caused him pecuniary (money) damage; (3) He has the huge burden of showing he is not a public figure and therefore just a regular John Q. Public, whose burden in a libel suit is far less than that of a public figure; (4) He must show deliberate malice by Mr. Berry. Of course, lawyers are often liars who drive defendants to despair and bankruptcy out of their own sheer malice. Mr. Ellis is a bully — and a thug. Let him come after me with a lawsuit. The good thing about Louisiana law, as with the British system, is that losers in civil litigation are subject to being throttled with Motions to Pay Court Costs. And any such lawsuit, based on the four mentioned points, is easily dismissable under Article 863 of the Louisiana Civil Code, which addresses the matter of improper and frivolous lawsuits……..

Lawrence doesn’t sound like he is a very hard man to find and from the sound of things the politicos in Jefferson Parish know where to find him.

Finally, I’d be remiss by not thanking Mr Theriot and the gang on the Parish Council that authorized this lawsuit for the free publicity which Val Bracy also passed along for me last night on the news. And take it from this old cyber salt when I add the very act of filing suit makes people think you have something to hide. Believe it or not I’ve never hid behind Sop. After Katrina when I cut back on financial blogging in favor of becoming a citizen activist I kept my old finance handle so the money managers, hedge fund operators, and others could easily follow me. On the finance boards where there is money on the line bloggers that can make good points often become targets from those on the other side of a trade or management. Take it from me, sometimes it gets old wearing a bullseye. Mr Theriot and this SLAPP suit placed one on every elected official in Jefferson Parish.

sop

Update:

The NOLA Defender has picked up coverage of this story. Thanks guys we mucho appreciate the mention.

Update:

Chris, a gentleman I’ve known since he was a kid that also sometimes writes for Saints Report.com is still in the dark on this one but we still managed to garner a mention there. Thanks MB!

Update:

Not long ago I concluded a telephone interview with Rich Rainey at the Times Picayune and it appears they will be reporting this story. Also the gang at Fox 8 has the video report up from last night’s story. WordPress does not support Dayport Video so I can’t embed it here.

15 thoughts on “Steve Theriot's lawsuit against bloggers ripples across the blogosphere and media. UPDATED 3X”

  1. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Now Steve you do know where to find and serve me and my swinging uncle with your lawsuit? – you’re right Steve! in the rainforest in back of the Arts Center on Airline- you know the one with multitudes of overrun contract costs.But here again I can’t help but be curious Steve cause I don’t know the difference between a brief and a pair of fruitlooms, but it seems to me that the plaintiff, the Parish of Jefferson, would be barred from filing their suit in the Jefferson Parish Judicial System because of prejudice,lack of independence and I’m sure that Judge Steve Windhorst would also have personal conflicts of interest with the Parish who pays his salary to sit on the bench in the first place!But who am I but a wild free swinging lil’monkey with only play on my mind OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOwweeeeeeeeeeeeee!

  2. Dude, I would gladly buy you a kegger of Lazy Magnolia Indian Summer ale for the good work if I could.

    I just wanted to say keep it up.

  3. Sop:

    I immediately thought of Zeilinger and Ashton O’Dwyer when I first read the lawsuit. Although I have crossed swords with both of them on this blog, they have not hidden behind screen names. Both have lit up JP on occasion. This is not about having a fair fight. Bullies suck, and that’s what this is all about. Theriot’s hair alone makes him a bully. I don’t like bullies.

  4. I felt compelled to review all the recent comments Sock. I may delete one (that barely mentions Theriot). Slabbed lifers know I only pull the plug with the greatest of reluctance and then only after careful thought. As I said yesterday I do give greater latitude to those that post using their real names.

    All that said I agree 100% with you on this. Theriot and those on the Parish Council that authorized this suit are bullies.

    We’ve had a request from a reader for help obtaining legal representation. Time to start drawing some lines in the sand. A great place to start is here IMHO.

    sop

  5. What is the return date on the subpoena? If the TP identifies the commenters, it places itself directly in the crosshairs with the Parish. If Judge Windhorst permits this, which I would be shocked if he did, this will happen:

    [youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=Kc8fqgbU_SU]

  6. History/Civics lesson 101 for Adolf Theriot and his band of brownshirt thugs:

    Freedom of the press and freedom of speech are protected by the US Constitution with the First Amendment. Before our founding fathers wrote the Constitution newspapers were subject to libel or even sedition if their opinions threatened the government. The notion of

  7. Now they’ve DONE it — opened PANDORA’S BOX!

    If they THOUGHT they were subject to criticism and ridicule previously, NOW they’ve awakened the populace to JUST how ARROGANT they REALLY are.

    It’s NO HOLD’S BARRED.

    What a TREMENDOUS miscalc on their parts.

    STUPIDITY coupled with ARROGANCE will bury them.

    GOOD RIDDANCE.

  8. Will the bloggers file countersuit to the John Doughs of JP?

    Here is a Mose Allison tribute to Steve Theriot:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCpekvOkwNM&a]

    His mind is on vacation but his mouth is working overtime . . .

  9. Where is the Jefferson Parish Council? Not one of those ethically ignint fools has opened their mouths to defend free speech and the rights of the citizens of JP. Reminds me of the Vichy government in France during WWII. Collaborators. They better decide fast if they going with the fascists or the freedom fighters. Crosses all boundaries.

    Oh yeah : kudos to Seemann and Baird for their defense of Leon, Lonnie et al. Time to rally
    behind these ladies. They are inspirational.

  10. Pelican, Maltilde and I just left the NOLA site having read Rainey’s article on that legal blunder of a lawsuit and the monumental public relations fiasco now evolving. The comments had us pissing in our pants. That’s what this is all about, creative expression throughout the entire spectrum of personal opinion, whatever the topic, and particularly political matters. I like many others thought that these Council people were circus clowns, now we know for certain, and Theriot is the ringmaster par excellance !

    Excusez-moi deBrief, qu’est-ce que vous dites ? Pelican has just confessed that he knows the real Jean Deaux, and there’s only one. You mean that Phelps Dunbar not only spelled the name wrong but added too many Deauxs too ! Oui. Maltilde, who apparently introduced Deaux to deBrief, proceeds to tell me a quite preposterous story of how Deaux, being a poor and unpublished writer, became addicted to political blogs and uses the different names as though they were characters in the many books he has been writing for years. All I could think of is what a great insanity defense that is going to be wasted due to this frivolous lawsuit getting thrown out before Jean Deaux gets to defend himself with his story.

    Thinking about Deaux’s story, of his drive to create, to express himself freely and coupled with a sip of Rebel Yell, I’m wondering, what the hell was this Council, Theriot and Phelps Dunbar thinking. Ces baise ont eu l’arrogance de sont plus haut niveau et de la betise a son plus bas en bas.

    I can assure them that even when this lawsuit is dismissed with prejudice, this matter is far from over for them, and I mean all of them.

  11. They have not only missplelled the defendant Jean Deaux but also the Parish counsel Phelps Dumbbar.

  12. That is a wonderful irony…thanks for pointing that out.

    From an IT perspective, here’s what i don’t think these knuckle heads understand. If they are trying to smoke out just one fox, they are essentially trying to burn down the entire forest to get him. They’re going to fail on every level.

    Even if they get the IP addresses of the requested screen name from the TP, in order to get the screen names from Slabbed they are going to have to pick this up with not only the bloggers, but WordPress…and even then all they are going to get are IP addresses. At that point they are going to have to go through probably multiple ISP’s and hope the fox they’re looking for logged in from an identifiable IP address.

    I can go to an internet cafe or a coffee shop right now and launch 20 new blogs in about an hour, i.e., Theriotsux.blogspot.com, JPGOVareCrooks.wordpress.com, etc. I can say whatever the hell I want on those blogs and there is no way they can track down who I am unless they go to the trouble of checking security cameras at the physical locations.

    Whoever the fox is they’re after, I hope you’re reading this.

  13. Damabala those aren’t the only ironies. The chatter we’re hearing is the suit sent a chilling effect across Parish Government Monday. To the extent us and evidently the T-P have unzipped telling Steve and gang to come get some when the suit is bounced out of court every fox in the forest will become emboldened.

    There are multiple foxes Dambala and one has approached us about that offer of free legal help that was left in the comments. I personally do not think it will come to that.

    sop

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