Homeowner association president's defamation suit gets fall trial date

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Aug. 19, 2013, 2:32pm

GALVESTON - A late November 2012 lawsuit which pits a local homeowners association president against another resident will go to trial before the end of the year, according to recent court records.

Galveston County 56th District Court Judge Lonnie Cox scheduled the two-week trial into Seascape Owners Association president Ron Benotti's $10 million defamation suit against Richard Alan Collier to begin Nov. 4.

In the suit filed Nov. 29, 2012, Benotti claims that Collier made defamatory remarks about him and emailed the statements to numerous individuals, alleging the defendant wrongfully labeled him as “arrogant,” “incompetent,” “dishonest,” “unethical” and “harassing.”

According to the suit, the respondent said Benotti mishandled a beach nourishment dune restoration project, acted unethically and illegally with no regard to the association’s bylaws or state laws and engaged in character assassination and a “personal vendetta” against him.

Collier’s e-mails apparently stated that the complainant committed election fraud and accused Collier of lying and financially misleading the homeowners association.

Benotti asserts that he gained a bad reputation as well as suffered from severe emotional distress as a result of the acts in question.

Meanwhile, Collier fired back at the complainant's claims with an original answer submitted earlier this year, calling them "frivolous."

A pre-trial conference is set for Oct. 28 at 10 a.m.

Case No. 12-CV-2972

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