Defendants claim Wiggins fails to show proof of defamation

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 1, 2012, 1:00pm

GALVESTON - Two men being sued by a former Kemah mayor for defamation have each submitted motions to dismiss.

Brian Sawyer and Carl Joiner assert their statements about Matthew D. Wiggins Jr. are covered under the First Amendment and demand the plaintiff show substantial proof behind his allegations, recent court documents say.

Sawyer filed his motion March 19, while Joiner entered his a week later.

They are among the 10 respondents who Wiggins, mayor of the north Galveston County town of 1,800 from May 2009 to May 2011, alleges said things "to intentionally harm his reputation, decrease respect, regard or confidence."

The original petition in each of his $1 million suits states that the defendants' actions "induced disparaging, hostile and disagreeable opinions or feelings against the plaintiff" and were politically motivated.

According to Wiggins, his reputation and standing in the community were negatively impacted and that he suffers from emotional distress.

Sawyer's motion indicates the litigation is based on the respondent's exercise of his right to free speech while Joiner's insists the defendant's apparent statement "was about a public official relating to his official work, a matter unquestionably of public concern."

Sawyer is represented by Chris A. Stacy & Associates P.C. and Bohreer & Zucker LLP is serving as counsel for Joiner.

Case Nos. 12-cv-193 and 12-cv-200

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