San Diego city lawyers seek to dismiss lawsuit filed by NBC 7 journalist


City lawyer Mara Elliott and one of her chief agents cite the limited immunity doctrine as one of the reasons why a proceeding filed by an NBC 7 journalist should be dismissed.

Elliott’s lawyer and city aide John Hemmering said in a court filing this week that his client’s work protects them from legal liability with respect to their personal liability for their actions at work. rice field.

The proceedings filed by NBC 7 journalist Dorian Hargrove should be dismissed under limited immunity, and plaintiffs could not prove defamation and suffered financial harm and mental distress. The motion said it was because it did not prove.

“I have no objection to Marla Elliott and John Hemering exercising policy-making functions within the course and scope of public affairs,” said Deputy Prosecutor John Kadu in a motion filed in federal court Wednesday. wrote.

Hargrove sued Elliott and Hemering for defamation and civil rights infringement in August. According to the proceedings, in July 2020, Hemerling threatened with a criminal investigation into how journalists obtained confidential documents.

Hemering is currently a candidate for the 2022 County Sheriff Election.

Hargrove then in September 2020, 101 Ash St, Elliott’s unsafe building. I wrote a story based on a law firm’s research document that suggested in a footnote that it interfered with investigating how it spent millions of dollars leasing. occupation.

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Elliott interviews an outside lawyer when attending the city council in 2016 about his role in the city’s lease contract for the acquisition of an office tower by then-member Todd Gloria, according to an NBC 7 report. He says he stopped it.

Elliott’s office warned that the footnote might be wrong, and within hours of NBC’s report, both Elliott and Gloria denied the claim and demanded that NBC’s talk be withdrawn. They said a footnote was created and secretly inserted into a secret report.

The story took place in the last few months of the 2020 campaign for the Mayor of San Diego and city lawyers. Elliott was reelected and Gloria won the campaign to replace former Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

NBC 7 immediately began an internal review of the story, and the station later withdrew part of the story. Hargrove and one of his colleagues were publicly disciplined.

In the proceedings, Hargrove threatened journalists and editors with Elliott and Hemmering using public authority, especially 101 Ash St. He accused him of discouraging writing articles related to the transaction.

“Defendants contact media company employers to retaliate reporters for 101 Ash St. articles and prevent journalists from publishing articles revealing corruption or fraud related to 101 Ash. There was a practice that threatened to adversely affect employers if they did not take it. Holy, “said the first complaint.

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City lawyer Kadu said what was the NBC 7 decision that Elliott and Hemmering would withdraw part of the September 2020 story, or the TV station’s public accusations of the two journalists a few weeks later. He said he did not play a role.

“Mara Elliott, John Hemering, or anyone else at the city law firm requires NBC 7 to suspend plaintiffs, ban reporting to city hall, or publish a personnel action filed by NBC 7 as part of its withdrawal. I didn’t do it. ” “But even if such demands were made, they would constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.”

Cadieux also said his client had nothing to do with the career impact, mental distress, or financial damage that Hargrove might have suffered.

“The defendant did not cause the harm alleged by the plaintiff, did not commit any illegal or illegal acts against the plaintiff, and was exempt from liability as a matter of law,” Kadu wrote.

The city’s dismissal request further points out that Hargrove was responsible for his mistakes in social media posts.

“Apology,” Hargrove tweeted last year. “This is for me … After further reporting, we withdrew the article citing footnote 15 created. We apologize for the error. Continue reporting to the person who sent the doctor’s report to NBC7. . “

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The defamation proceeding also quoted a social media post by Elliott after NBC 7 withdrew an important part of the story. Specifically, “Such lies are designed to undermine public trust,” “Who is behind this slander campaign in San Diegan.”

The city dismissed the post, claiming it was not aimed at Hargrove.

“Tweet does not identify the plaintiff as a counterfeiter,” he said.

In addition to dismissing the proceedings, the city is asking judges to order Hargrove to pay legal fees and legal fees. A hearing in this case is scheduled for November 22 in front of Judge M. James Lorenz.

San Diego city lawyers seek to dismiss lawsuit filed by NBC 7 journalist Source link San Diego city lawyers seek to dismiss lawsuit filed by NBC 7 journalist