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.

web analytics