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 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."
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."….
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 ♨)
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