Wilmer mayor sues The Ellis County Press
By 05/08/2003 00:00:00
The Ellis County Press
WILMER - Mayor Linda Root filed suit against The Ellis County Press, reporter Joey Dauben, and six residents for 'libelous,' 'misleading,' and 'slanderous' statements about her.
Dauben wrote an article for the March 20 issue of The ECP detailing an incident involving her husband, Jim, and his friend Ron Hagen; the two attempted to deliver meeting agendas to council members Don Hudson and Jesse Petton, also named in the lawsuit, when Root's husband reportedly hit Wilmer Building Inspector/Code Enforcement Officer Stephen King, another person named in the suit.
Root's lawsuit also claimed the story's headline, 'Mayor involved in ‘volatile' confrontation,' was misleading and slanderous.
Dean Rolison, who lost an election bid for city council Saturday, and Wilmer resident Connie Bain were also named in the lawsuit.
Bain was accused, according to court documents, of signing a letter stating Root had 'henchmen' and that Jim Root had been criminally charged with criminal assault, and had been charged with theft and served time in
the Dallas County jail.
After the March 20 article was published, the mayor threatened Dauben.
'This isn't over,' the mayor said.
Hagen said Dauben was going to be held 'liable' for the article and that a lawsuit would be filed against him.
'The suit is entirely frivolous and maliciously prosecuted as to The Ellis County Press and Joey Dauben,' said Midlothian attorney Todd Phillippi, who is representing the newspaper.
In the terms of the settlement, Root wants the newspaper and Dauben to pay for attorney's fees, and to cease publishing articles about her and Jim Root.
A restraining order and cease and desist order were also requested, according to the affidavits.
'We stand by our report and we think the lawsuit is frivolous and will be shown to be frivolous,' said Publisher Leif Wright. 'It is the news media's role to responsibly report on public figures. We take that responsibility seriously.'