County Supervisor Dianne Jacob recently published an essay in Voice of San Diego. She wrote:
"I was sued by the owner of the Los Angeles Times for speaking my mind about the business practices of one his companies, ironic because people involved in journalism are usually fierce defenders of free speech. Sam Zell’s Manufactured Home Communities--now operating under the name Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc.-- owns and operates more than 300 mobile home parks in 28 states, including four parks in the district I represent. At first, it was difficult to take Zell or his lawsuit seriously. There’s something amusing about being sued for defamation by an individual who calls himself the “grave dancer"...” I am convinced that Zell is using our judicial system to bully me and intimidate those who dare question how MHC treats its customers..."
I think too many people are terrified of being sued. Being sued is really not so bad. I should know; I'm being sued for defamation by Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz. My friends greet me with creased foreheads and downturned mouths when they ask me how I am. I'm fine.
What is terrible is that many people are silent about wrongdoing for fear of being sued. It seems to me that some people (like the partners at Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, who are suing me in their spare time, when they are not too busy campaigning against lawsuit abuse) are trying to turn our entire society into a place where criminals rule the roost and witnesses are afraid to testify.
Elly Dotseth is concerned about Dianne Jacob and all who speak out. Elly wrote a letter to Voice of San Diego on April 16, 2008 saying:
"...people in our supposedly free country have begun to keep quiet from fear of being sued or blackballed in some other way. I have recently spoken out in criticism of the way the NTC Foundation is handling leases with nonprofit arts groups, and despite the reply from the director, I stand by my criticism. If he were to sue me, though, that would really be horrific."
Here is my response to Elly:
Kudos for standing up to the McMillin/NTC Foundation, and please be assured that it is not so bad getting sued when you have nothing to hide and the big guys that are suing you have plenty to hide. You simply file an answer, then go down to the courthouse and get a deposition subpoena that has been signed by the Clerk of the Court. Make some copies, fill them out, and serve them on the people who are suing you. They filed the lawsuit, so they had better be prepared to testify under oath and produce documents. If they fail to do so, you file a motion to compel that looks something like THIS.