Friday, October 28, 2011

DOCUMENTS: Former Senator Mike Lenett's Lawsuit Against Former Employee // Holy Mackerel, Blackmail Involved?

Earlier this month, an observant Maryland Juice reader flagged an astonishing lawsuit by former Maryland Senator Mike Lenett against his former Annapolis aide Virginia Ramsey and five unnamed "John Doe" defendants. We speculated, based on the shenanigans from last year's District 19 Democratic Primary, that Mr. Lenett was filing some sort of libel/defamation/slander lawsuit:
On September 6th, Mr. Lenett filed a civil lawsuit in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County. In it he alleges that an intentional tort has been committed against him by Ms. Ramsey and five additional unnamed "John Doe" defendants. This could be a suit for fraud, battery, or any number of intentional torts, but Maryland Juice has a pretty good hunch that this is a libel/slander/defamation lawsuit...

More importantly, during the course of Mr. Lenett's unsuccessful re-election attempt last year, Ms. Ramsey published a website and email blasts about her former boss. Her writings did not present a flattering picture of Mr. Lenett. But Ms. Ramsey eventually outed herself to her email list, noting that Sen. Manno was getting blamed for the content on her website.
Now we have the court filings in this case, and they are wild! Mr. Lenett is alleging defamation and false light invasion of privacy. He is also requesting a jury trial and appears to allege that Ms. Ramsey was attempting to blackmail him (Page 3, Point 9). Read the full document below.

For some background information on the charges, I highlight a summary of defamation and false light claims in Maryland. The following excerpted information comes from the Bowie-Jensen law firm's website:
In Maryland, a claim of false light invasion of privacy must include the following elements: (1) the defendant gave publicity to a private matter that placed another in a “false light” before the public; (2) the false light in which the other was placed would be “highly offensive” to a reasonable person; and (3) that the defendant knew the publicized matter was false or acted with reckless disregard as to the falsity of the matter, as well as to the false light in which the other person would be placed. 
As with most other forms of invasion of privacy, the key factor in a false light claim is conduct that is deemed “highly offensive” to a reasonable person, which sets it apart from the similar tort of defamation.  In a claim for defamation, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) the defendant made a defamatory communication to a third person who reasonably recognized the statement to be defamatory; (2) the statement was false; (3) the defendant was at fault in communicating the statement; and (4) the plaintiff suffered harm.  A statement is defamatory if it tends to expose the plaintiff to public scorn, hatred, contempt, or ridicule.
Okay, now onto the court documents. Read 'em and weep:

LAWSUIT: Michael G. Lenett vs. Virginia R. Ramsey, et al (Complaint)

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