Continuance granted for former Kemah fire chief sued for defamation

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 13, 2013, 5:05pm

GALVESTON - One of the defendants in a former Kemah mayor's $1 million defamation lawsuit was granted continuance, recent court records show.

The jury trial for the litigation pitting Matthew D. Wiggins Jr. against Larry Suniga, which was supposed to begin May 20, was pushed back a week to May 28.

Wiggins sued Suniga and six other people separately in February 2012 over what he asserts are false statements made “to intentionally harm his reputation, decrease respect, regard or confidence.”

The plaintiff, who served as mayor of the north Galveston County town of 1,800 people from May 2009 to May 2011, argues the defendants’ actions “induced disparaging, hostile and disagreeable opinions or feelings against the plaintiff” and their motives were political in nature.

Wiggins's reputation and standing in the community were negatively impacted and that he suffers from emotional distress, each of the suits says.

Each respondent submitted original answers refuting Wiggins.

Suniga, the ex-Kemah Volunteer Fire Department chief, submitted a motion for continuance on May 10 because his counsel "did not realize at the time the lawsuit was filed that he would not be in town" when the trial ensues.

According to the four-page motion, his attorney will be going to Lawrence, Kan., to pick up his daughter from the University of Kansas at the same time the trial is scheduled to be heard.

Meanwhile, the trials for the other cases will proceed.

Both sides estimate they will last two weeks.

Case Nos. 12-CV-192; 12-CV-195-12-CV-198

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