Defamation suit found to be frivolous, sanctions awarded

By David Yates | Oct 18, 2018

HOUSTON — Less than a year after a defamation suit was brought against Noble Drilling and an another individual, a final judgment was entered stating there was no evidence establishing any of the plaintiff’s claims.

As previously reported, Daniel Askins filed suit against his former employer, Noble Drilling, and Jeffrey B. Hagopian, alleging they made false statements against him.

According to the complaint, between March 2011 and April 2015, Askins suffered damages to his reputation, which also resulted in his termination. He alleged the defendants issued defamatory statements against him designed to damage his personal and business reputation.

On July 26, 2017, a final judgment was entered, stating the plaintiff shall take nothing by his suit.

“The Court stated its reasoning on the record and concluded that the evidence failed to establish at least one element of the plaintiff’s defamation claim, i.e., that his reputation had been damaged,” the judgment states. “As well, there was no evidence that the plaintiff suffered a financial loss. Both he and the defendant were terminated by their common employer. Therefore, his defamation claim failed. Likewise, the plaintiff’s claim for per se defamation failed.”

Court records further show Hagopian had his motion for sanctions granted the following month.

The court found Askins’ lawsuit was frivolously and vexatiously brought and decreed that Hagopian recover $50,000 from him.

Filed in the Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas, case number 4:16-cv-01370

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