Monday, April 22, 2013

Delilah Snell prevails in court

     Previously (IVC's student Dissenters: Where are they now?), we’ve sung the praises of IVC alum and one-time Dissenter Delilah Snell, owner, these days, of the popular The Road Less Traveled, a “Modern Natural Living & Community Education Shop.”
     Back in the late 90s, Delilah and her friend Deb Burbridge (now a full-timer at Long Beach City College) successfully sued then-IVC President Raghu Mathur and the college over the latter’s violations of students’ First Amendment rights (Mathur had placed absurd restrictions on student demonstrations regarding Mathur and the Board's accreditation-risking misdeeds, etc.).
     Today, the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley (Judge Tosses Out Businessman's Defamation Lawsuit Involving 2011 OC Weekly Profile) reports that Snell has emerged victorious in a defamation suit brought against her by a powerful, and apparently thin-skinned, developer:
Judge Bauer
     Judge Ronald L. Bauer granted a case-ending motion by Walt Sadler, the attorney for Delilah Snell … after concluding her statements made for a 2011 OC Weekly profile about [Shaheen] Sadeghi were "a matter of opinion and thus beyond the scope of provable defamation."
     Snell told Weekly reporter Michelle Woo … the businessman had threatened to copy her eco-friendly business if she did not rent space at one of his retail centers.
     The judge viewed the dispute as a David-vs.-Goliath battle. He said Sadeghi "has a large footprint in Orange County," with many retail centers—including the Lab and the CAMP in Costa Mesa—while Snell, fiancée of Weekly editor Gustavo Arellano, "is a small player on the scene."
Sadeghi
     In his lawsuit, Sadeghi argued that Snell's comment constituted defamation, invasion of privacy and multiple business-related claims, all of which caused him damages.
     Snell argued that Sadeghi's court complaint was merely designed to silence critics, a key point Sadler made in his successful motion describing the case as a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP).
… Bauer sided with Snell.
     "The plaintiff's ethics, business plans and impact on the community are all matters of public interest," the judge wrote in his four-page, April 15 ruling. "The plaintiff has also not shown that he has suffered any damage—or even a hint thereof—as a consequence of this article."
. . .
     "The worst thing that could perhaps be said about [Snell's] statement is that it might imply that Sadeghi is a bully," Bauer wrote. "It might be said, with no small amount of irony, that if it can indeed be proven that a person is a bully, this lawsuit would be Exhibit 1 in that proof."….
     Well, that’s wonderful news.
     Dissent readers will recall that I, too, once had occasion to employ the state’s anti-SLAPP statute when I, and former administrator Terry Burgess, were sued for “invasion of privacy” by then-IVC President IVC Mathur after I reported Mathur’s violations of a student’s rights (instructor Mathur had distributed the student’s transcripts in a failed effort to discredit Burgess, then the VPI). With Carol Sobel and Wendy Gabriella as our attorneys, we wielded the statute, forcing Mathur into a courtroom, where he was compelled to persuade a judge that he was liable to prevail. He failed. He was ordered to pay Burgess and me $34,000 (in the end, we settled for $32,000).
     You should have seen Mathur's face. He seemed uncomprehending.
     Read all about it here:
The day that Mathur sued me for telling the truth about him, and so I sued him back and won, and then he sued the district for not protecting him from me, and so they gave Raghu a prize (♨ they made him Chancellor ♨)
The Road Less Traveled is located on, um, a busy road

3 comments:

I fear no fish said...

"It might be said, with no small amount of irony, that if it can indeed be proven that a person is a bully, this lawsuit would be Exhibit 1 in that proof."

Indeed!

Anonymous said...

IVC has bullies.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, that lovely Ms. Snell certainly has become a magnet for lawsuits!

Half-staff: ten days and counting.

The flags outside A-100 has been flying at half-staff for ten days now. Even the one of the regular Jehovah's Witness women noticed ...