Ex-Kemah mayor's defamation lawsuit scheduled for trial in July

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau May 22, 2013, 3:22pm

GALVESTON - A new trial date was set in a former Kemah mayor's defamation lawsuit, recent court records show.

Opening statements from either Matthew D. Wiggins Jr.'s counsel or those representing the seven people he alleges said false things about him will be heard on July 8.

In separate suits filed in September 2012, Wiggins accuses each defendant of actions which "induced disparaging, hostile and disagreeable opinions or feelings against (him)" and 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.

Named defendants by the ex-mayor of the north Galveston County town of 1,800 people are Delores and Jose Lara, of League City; Arnold Shields, of Texas City; and Kemah locals Chadwick Jones, Sylvia Streater and Linda Ward, and ex-Kemah Volunteer Fire Department Chief Larry Suniga.

Each respondent submitted original answers refuting Wiggins.

Before the original trial date of May 20, the plaintiff amended his original petitions to explain how the respondents' purported actions culminated in a broadcasted segment by KTRK investigative reporter Wayne Dolcefino and his defeat in the 2011 Kemah mayoral elections.

Wiggins is representing himself in his suit against Suniga while attorney Berry D. Bowen of Houston serves as his counsel in the other cases.

Houston attorneys Gregg M. Rosenberg, Larry A. Vick and George F. May are representing the defense.

Case Nos. 12-CV-192, 12-CV-195, 12-CV-196, 12-CV-197

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