Defendants dismissed from former Kemah mayor's suit

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 25, 2012, 11:25am

GALVESTON - Two local men who were among a group of people a former Kemah mayor is suing for defamation are no longer parties in the case.

Agreed final judgments were submitted into Matthew D. Wiggins Jr.'s $1 million lawsuits against Brian Sawyer and Carl Joiner which dismiss the latter from litigation dating back to last Feb. 8.

Wiggins filed suit against Sawyer and Joiner, along with eight other individuals, in response to statements he claims the defendants made "to intentionally harm his reputation, decrease respect, regard or confidence."

The original petition in each of Wiggins's suits states that the respondents' actions "induced disparaging, hostile and disagreeable opinions or feelings against the plaintiff" and were politically motivated."

Wiggins, mayor of the north Galveston County town of 1,800 from May 2009 to May 2011, argues that his reputation and standing in the community were negatively impacted and that he suffers from emotional distress.

Sawyer and Joiner each formally denied the allegations, stating their statements are covered under the First Amendment.

The final orders say Sawyer and Joiner moved to withdraw their anti-SLAPP motions against the plaintiff, whose claims against them were also dropped.

Meanwhile, Wiggins's suits against Delores and Jose Lara, Arnold Shields and Sylvia Streater remain active.

Each defendant has provided either an original answer or a motion to dismiss.

Case Nos. 12-cv-192-12-cv-193; 12-cv-195-12-cv-200

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