Slabbed New Media today filed a Motion for Leave to Amend its copyright abuse lawsuit against suspended lawyer Daniel Abel to include Abel’s close associate Chris Yount, along with Loyola University via its Stuart Smith Law Clinic adding counts of malicious prosecution and abuse of process. The new counts are related to a defamation lawsuit that was improperly filed under seal via ex-parte court order by Abel which named Handshoe, Slabbed New Media and Slabbed New media’s attorney Bobby Truitt as co-defendants. This suit was subsequently struck under Louisiana’s Anti-SLAPP law. Attorney Abel was subsequently was suspended from the practice of law due to the threat of harm to the public for his conduct in that and other cases.
During the appellate process, the Loyola University Stuart Smith Law Clinic, via Assistant Director Ramona Fernandez and third year law student Janey Lamar, then stepped into Abel’s shoes, filing an appellate brief which accused Handshoe of committing the crime of cyber stalking in addition to other scandalous and defamatory verbiage including attributing statements to Slabbed’s lawyer Bobby Truitt that have been literally concocted from whole cloth. They took these actions under the guise of representing Mr. Yount’s minor son, who was never a party to the dismissed SLAPP suit.
Said Slabbed New Media publisher Handshoe, “the conduct of the Stuart Smith Law Clinic at Loyola University has been reprehensible and has exposed a minor child to potential legal liability.” Handshoe added that both clinic director Bill Quigley and Loyola Law School Dean María López as well as Fernandez and Lamar were repeatedly warned to refrain from injecting a minor child into a civil matter to which that child was not a party. He also noted that Loyola never filed a formal motion to intervene in the case before joining in with Yount prosecuting the case at the appeals court level.
“It is clear that Loyola University, after tossing the Lens from its campus and joining in with Yount, a noted serial litigant in litigation designed to squelch journalism in the public interest, has become the enemy of the free press”, Handshoe noted. He continued that the verbiage used in the joint appellate brief submitted by Yount and Loyola mirrors, in certain cases word for word, a scandalous brief submitted by Daniel Abel that was subsequently struck by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi.
Handshoe vowed to bring all the legal abuses and acts of retaliation connected to his reporting on the troubling multi year divorce case styled Yount v Steitle, which included instances of Yount self notarizing legal documents using Abel’s notary stamp to the light of day. “I’ve had many inquiries into the status of this litigation by interested legal observers”, said Handshoe who added that “the abuses that occurred before Judge Raymond Steib recused himself from that case are both highly troubling and certainly deleterious to the proper formation of the minor that has been at the center of the multi-year custody battle. Loyola’s subsequent use of the same minor child to participate in an abusive defamation action in an attempt to silence a journalist will not be tolerated.”
Finally Handshoe indicated that further legal action is anticipated related to another of suspended attorney Abel’s defamation suits against Handshoe, Slabbed and all of its previous counsel. “Suing a lawyer for the sole purpose of creating a legal conflict strikes at the heart of the justice system. Even worse are judges that sanction that behavior in abuse of their office. My right to freedom of Speech under the First Amendment and to do journalism in the public interest here on Slabbed has literally been paid for with blood of American patriots that made the ultimate sacrifice and I fully intend to honor that sacrifice by securing my constitutional rights in a court of law.”
The case is styled Handshoe v Abel, Case Number 1:14-cv-00159-KS-MTP, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Judge Keith Starrett presiding.