Conley, Detrick Defamation, Anti-SLAPP Conflict Resolved

January 14, 2015 |

The legal imbroglio between Elk Grove community activist Connie Conley and events planner Brian Detrick has been resolved according to a statement issued this morning.

The press release, which was jointly issued by Conley and Detrick, says:

"Elk Grove event planner Brian Detrick and local activist Connie Conley have reached a settlement in Mr. Detrick’s lawsuit against Ms. Conley for defamation and tortious interference with prospective economic advantage. Brian Detrick and Connie Conley both expressed regret at the situation.  

Ms. Conley acknowledges that she was misinformed about the business practices of Brian Detrick and his business Brick Events and made allegations based on that misinformation, to the detriment of Mr. Detrick and his family. Ms. Conley is retracting all statements she has made about Mr. Detrick and his company, Brick Events, not complying with the law. She has agreed to be more careful with her statements regarding the Detrick family in the future and to contact them before making any accusations or filing any complaints against any of them.

Although the remaining terms of the settlement are confidential, both parties expressed satisfaction with their agreement, as well as their regret that the dispute went as far as it did. All applicable governmental agencies have reviewed Ms. Conley’s allegations, and Brian Detrick has been found to be in compliance with all laws regarding his event planning business. Ms. Conley wishes Mr. Detrick success in his future business endeavors."

The litigation between Conley and Detrick, who is the son of Elk Grove City Council Member Steve Detrick stems from a 2013 defamation suit. Detrick asserted that Conley, who raised concerns that Detrick was acting as an unlicensed commercial fundraiser.    

Detrick asserted that Conley's contact with a charitable event's official that he organized defamed him and resulting in economic damage. Conley filed a counter-suit that asserting Detrick's lawsuit was a so-called SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) that sought to limit her free speech.

Through the course of the legal skirmish, each party scored victories and suffered setbacks. The matter also ensnared Detrick's father, Council Member Steve Detrick.

The elder Detrick was fined $3,500 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission after they determined he illegally paid Brian Detrick's legal bills of over $90,000 from his campaign's account. That fine was the second levied on the two-term council member in 2014.    

Brian Detrick and Conley declined further comment on the matter.

Prior to today's announcement, according to information posted on the California Attorney General's webpage (see image below), Detrick filed as a commercial fundraiser in August, 2014 with an issue date of August 15, 2014. The information states the filing is for 2011. 

Representing Conley was Jeffrey Kravitz; Daniel Stouder of Boutin Jones represented Detrick. 

Click to enlarge.

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Anonymous said...

I think we've all, at one time or another, escalated issues beyond what is necessary. I applaud both parties for their willingness to come together to resolve the problem. It takes strength of character to reconcile in such a manner. Good on 'ya.

Anonymous said...

Strength of character or lack of pockets to fund the lawyers anymore? Both should be ashamed for wasting so much of the court's valuable time.

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