Detrick's Lawsuit Against Conley Quashed, Said To Be a 'SLAPP' Suit in Preliminary Ruling

April 10, 2014 | In a preliminary ruling issued this afternoon, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown ruled that the defamation...

April 10, 2014 |

In a preliminary ruling issued this afternoon, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown ruled that the defamation lawsuit filed by Elk Grove resident Brian Detrick against Elk Grove community activist Connie Conley was a so-called SLAPP lawsuit. Based on this ruling, Detrick's civil suit seeking damages against Conley cannot proceed.

The ruling noted that "the Court cannot find the plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence that he has a reasonable chance of prevailing on his cause of action for libel/defamation or the remaining claims for interference with prospective economic advantage."

In his lawsuit filed last June, Detrick, the son of Elk Grove Council Member Steve Detrick, alleged that Conley had defamed his character and caused him economic loss by an email she sent questioning if he was properly licensed with the state to conduct commercial fundraising activities. In a September counter-motion, Conley said Detrick's suit was a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP suit, and that his case should be dismissed. 

In October Brown ruled partially in favor of Conley based on a ruling from the State Attorney General's office that Detrick "may" have been acting as a commercial fundraiser. In today's ruling, Brown wrote that subsequent to that, the AG's offices ruled that at the time Conley sent the email, Detrick was in fact acting as a commercial fundraiser and was required to register with the state, and that since the event in question was affiliated with the city of Elk Grove, it was a matter of public interest.

Speaking on behalf of Conley, attorney Jeff Kravitz was happy, but not surprised by the ruling noting "they should have never filed the lawsuit."

Kravitz said opposing counsel Daniel Stouter of the Sacramento law firm Boutin Jones has filed a motion for oral arguments that are scheduled for tomorrow afternoon. Stouder could not be reached for comment as of this posting.

"I am very confident the judge will not change his ruling," Kravitz said.

Tomorrow's hearing will take place in Dept. 53 in the Law and Motions Department located at 800 9th street and start sometime after 2 p.m.

Kravitz said he will also be filing a motion to recover the legal fees incurred by Conley.

"Anyone who loves free speech, regardless of political affiliation, should be happy with this decision," he added. 


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Anonymous said...

It's really sad that personal differences between two middle-aged and seemingly educated adults would result in one attacking the others child, albeit a young adult just out of college.

Poor judgment by both parties here. One for a high profile public servant not seeing that his young adult son not follow well established legal protocols for setting up this type of business knowing that failure to do so would possibly have a negative affect on his public standing and for the "activist" for attacking the young inexperienced son of the official motivated solely by hatred just to get back at the father.

"Can't we all just get along?"

Anonymous said...

If you read the entire Court file, the younger Detrick knew exactly what he was doing and he went after Conley in filing the lawsuit with everything he had. The "poor me" excuse will not work. Brian Detrick knew exactly what he was doing.

Rules are for everyone said...

Take a gander at the court records that are available for public viewing. Interesting tale. It appears that Detrick asked Conley to help son start his business, but a disagreement occurred when governing agencies advised that State or Federal registration was required and son declined.

I don't see hate as motivation but rather follow the laws, rules and regulations as set forth by the governing agencies. A very sad prospect here.

Anonymous said...

Or could it be that Steve Detrick used his son and his campaign war chest to go after Conley because she dared to hold him accountable.

And by Detrick's recent actions of late, someone needed to step up.

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