FULL STATEMENT City of Springdale says Duggar sisters’ lawsuit ‘misguided’ and ‘without merit’

Duggar sisters lawsuit City of Springdale Statement

As we reported on Thursday, Duggar sisters Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy-Anna Duggar have filed a lawsuit because of information released to In Touch magazine in regards to the Josh Duggar molestation scandal. The City of Springdale, Arkansas is one of the defendants and they have issued an official statement in response to the lawsuit, which they describe as “misguided,” “without merit” and “false.”

Here is the full statement from the City of Springdale’s legal counsel:

May 19, 2017
Statement by Legal Counsel for the City of Springdale:

The City of Springdale has learned that a lawsuit was filed against the city and two of its public servants by Plaintiffs Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy Duggar. The lawsuit details events that date back to a multi-agency investigation into allegations of molestation of the four named plaintiffs and one other person by Josh Duggar, and claims that that the release of a heavily redacted police report pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act Request was somehow unlawful. The claims and allegations in this lawsuit are without merit and are false, and we are confident that the Federal Court will take the time to carefully hear the facts and arguments in this matter.

The City of Springdale was pleased to prevail in a previous legal action regarding the release of information related to this matter. As we stated nearly two years ago, the city takes seriously its responsibilities to the public under the FOIA as well as its obligations to protect the privacy of victims. With this obligation, the city made the family aware of the Freedom of Information Act Request for the police report and kept the family regularly informed of the status of the request prior to the production of the redacted report.

It is unfortunate that now, at this late date, the Plaintiffs have chosen to file a misguided lawsuit against dedicated public servants and seeking damages from public tax dollars.

Please direct all inquiries to the attorneys listed below.

Thomas N. Kieklak
Harrington, Miller, Kieklak,
Eichmann & Brown, P.A.
4710 S. Thompson, Suite 102
Springdale, AR 72764
Telephone (479) 751-6464
Facsimile (479) 751-3715

R. Justin Eichmann
Harrington, Miller, Kieklak,
Eichmann & Brown, P.A.
4710 S. Thompson, Suite 102
Springdale, AR 72764
Telephone (479) 751-6464
Facsimile (479) 751-3715

Susan Keller Kendall
Kendall Law Firm, PLLC
3706 S. Pinnacle Pkwy #201
Rogers, AR 72758
Telephone (479) 464-9878
Facsimile (479) 464-9768

In addition to the City of Springdale, other defendants named in the lawsuit include numerous corporate entities tied to In Touch, Kathy O’Kelly, who was the chief of the Springdale Police Department at the time; Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney; Rick Hoyt, enforcement major at Washington County Sheriff’s Office; and Steve Zega, Washington County attorney.

There have been no official reactionary statements from the other defendants, that I could find. Meanwhile, Derick and Jill Dillard both tweeted links to this USA Today artical about the lawsuit with the same message: “We hope our lawsuit will send a clear message that releasing the names of juveniles is never ok.”

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial. It also asks for “injunctive relief, compensatory damages, and punitive damages” – though their were no specific dollar amounts for the damages.

This has all the makings of a very important and precedent-setting case when it comes to the media, public figures, and the Freedom of Information Act. One thing’s for certain, it looks like we will all be talking about the Josh Duggar molestation scandal for years to come.

So, regardless of what the legal verdict turns out to be, what do you think? Was it right to include the names of the sisters in the information released by City and County officials? And was it right for In Touch to run the story?

Also, do you think TLC will include the lawsuit as a major plot line on Counting On? I confess it would make the show a little more appealing, but it would go against its own successful formula of just arranged marriages and babies.

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  • DeeDeDee

    They’re only suing because it brought forward information that marred their family’s name. But let’s be honest, everybody knew this was happening with at least one of the kids. It just ruined the image of their perfect holier tham thou family pretending like their way of life actually works.

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  • TNC

    I the second to last paragraph this author asks “if it was right to include the sister’s names in the information released by the city” the city didn’t release their names, they released the police report with the names redacted. This family protected Josh at all costs and even had the girls go on national tv to defend him. Nothing is ever the man’s fault in that family and since TLC won’t put josh on the show anymore this is their way of making someone pay.

    • Lacy

      The whole point of redaction is so people can’t identify the victims of sex crimes. They literally wrote “The alleged victims are {redacted their names} who live with their parents Michelle and Jim Bob” in the report. Then there is more information likes ages, addresses, etc that’s not redacted. Sing it from the rafters that Josh did that, but I do not want it to become standard procedure to leave information in a report that easily identifies victims of sex crimes.

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  • DVam

    I think in a way I do feel bad for the girls, because this is not a light issue. But, In Touch did get this information legally and all their names were redacted. By four of them coming out with this lawsuit they ruin the small amount anonymity provided and bring this scandal to light all over again.

    Everybody makes mistakes, but the issue is how the parents swept it under the rug and didn’t get him real treatment. They care don’t more about their reputation and strict religion then getting him real help.

    • Amanda_56

      At the year of the incident, josh only had 5 sisters. The report stated he molested 4 of his sisters. It was obvious joy Anne was one because of the age stated in the report. So there wasn’t much annonyminity for the victims, even if they redacted the name. People hate them for their religious beliefs so much they can’t see past their own hate, and see how these girls were wronged.
      Their parents didn’t do enough to protect them, so they deserve to be outed? Yah, that makes sense!

      • Stacy

        It’s not the courts issue. They redacted names, them being public figures isn’t their fault. The documents were obtained legally. While I get them being upset at it being outed, they forgave their brother, but will sue the court? That’s kind of hypocritical.

        • Lacy

          The redacted report says “The alleged victims are {redacted their names} who live with their parents Michelle and Jim Bob.” Are you okay with leaving information in reports that are released to the public identifying underage victims of sex crimes?

        • Hyde

          Exactly. One of the gymnasts who is suing USA gymnastics and the team doctor who mol ested her when she was underage had was named as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, but with all of the identifying info in the court docs (years she was on the team, her college, etc etc), it was very easy to determine her identity. It sucks, but isn’t illegal.

      • Kitkat

        They’re protecting a molester, allowing him into their homes and lives, HE HAS DAUGHTERS, and everyone wants to sweep it under he rug? They want to say this trauma was not his fault? They’re victim blaming the girls?

        Then the girls are setting us back lighhtyears in terms of empowerment, not blaming oneself for RAPE AND ASSAULT. They should be held accountable for the message they’re sending.

        • Amanda_56

          Do I agree with the way JB and Michelle handled it ? No! Of course not!
          Sweep it under the rug? What has changed? His wife already knew, and has decided to have children with him. Legally, nothing at this point can be done. So why bring it up, and leave so much information accessible and hurt the victims? Everyone talks about how their brainwashed anyways, so Let’s be honest… They didn’t set anyone back! And even if you wanna argue that, since when does a victim owe anything to anyone? Also, if people cared more about the victims, none of this would have come out and they wouldn’t have delivered a message that you find so detrimental to society.

  • melinehclassy

    Josh molested his siblings, slept with prostitutes while preaching a wholesome family life, possibly gave his wife std’s from his whoring around and the sisters are flashing the spotlight on the city??? How pathetic are these people? I feel so bad for their kids they don’t have a chance.

    PS I have strongly felt Josh has molested his own oldest daughter. She always acted so grown up and lady like in the shows.he touched his sisters cause (verbatim) “he was curious” whose to say he’s was not “curious” when changing his daughters diapers???? Creepy.

  • tina

    so they want to be rewarded for hiding their disgusting sons behavior? Instead of suing the state maybe they should ask their parents why they allowed it to go on?

  • tina

    releasing names isn’t okay which they didn’t the family went to the news but abusing the daughters and sweeping it under the rug is ok? Sadly most victims of this abuse don’t get any help not even therapy never mind a show of idiots looking for more money

  • Aussie cathie

    Their whole lives are misguided and without merit!!

  • barbinop

    Why did Jill and Jessa have a special show about being molested if they were scarred publicly about this? Why now? Another frivolous lawsuit. What’s Jim Bob’s cut in this monetary suit? You know he’s in on it