We have a new update in the defamation lawsuit filed by Kailyn Lowry against her Teen Mom 2 co-star Briana DeJesus. The 95-page “Memorandum of Law” was filed by Kail’s attorney earlier today in response to the filing by Briana earlier this month asking the judge to essentially dismiss the case due to lack of merit.
The new filing is a very long argument defending the validity of Kail’s claims that Briana’s statements about her made on Instagram were defamatory. Here are the bullet point arguments, including a bit of Teen Mom 2 tea about the real reason Kail refused to film for the episode!
NOTE: Briana’s real name is Briana Soto.
• Briana argues that she got her information about Kail allegedly hitting Chris Lopez and breaking into his mother’s house straight from Chris, whom she considered to be a credible source. “However, in the Post itself Soto credits the source of her information to ‘production,’ meaning the producers and crew that film Lowry in the Series. Chris is not, and never has been, a part of production.”
• “Even if Chris provided her with this information, which his own texts state that he did not, any reliance Soto could place on Chris as a source would be inherently unreasonable. Soto has never even met Chris. She has previously accused Chris of beating Lowry in front of Lowry’s children — an accusation that was neither provoked by anything Lowry or Chris said or did, but instead was a reaction Soto had after a fan of the Series was critical of Soto for verbally attacking Lowry in front of Lowry’s children.” Plus, given the contentious relationship between Chris and Kail, that would also suggest that he would not be a credible source for factual information regarding their interactions.
• “The fact is the Post is untrue. Lowry did not break into or enter into the home of her son’s grandmother. She did not put her hands on Chris. And indeed, the reason she was not included in the episode was not because she was refusing to film about the arrest or ‘breaking and entering’ or ‘hitting Chris’ but instead because she was dating someone new.”
• The filing includes text messages from Chris Lopez and his mother that seem to indicate that Kail did not break into her house, but was let in. Kail also disputes the allegations that she hit Chris.
• Briana’s attorney argued that the case should be dismissed because his client was not given notice that a defamation suit was being filed, but Kail’s lawyer counters by arguing that notification is only required if the defendant is a member of the media.
• In regards to Briana’s an anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) claim: “Florida’s anti-SLAPP statute is meant to protect statements made in connection with public issues, which include television programs, radio broadcasts, news reports, or other similar work. The statute does not intend to protect Soto’s defamatory swipes at Lowry, an individual with whom Soto has a well-established adversarial relationship…Soto’s weak attempts to mask an individual attack on Lowry as protected speech in connection with a public issue must fail. Soto’s statements viewed in the context of the whole record, reveal that Soto had an individual interest to disseminate this false information targeting Lowry, her nemesis.”
I will start with Kail’s affidavit, which was included in the filing as an Exhibit.
Kail Lowrys’s affidavit signed August 30, 2021
KAILYN LOWRY, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
I am the Plaintiff in this action. I have been a member of the Teen Mom 2 cast, an unscripted television show on MTV (the “Series”), since 2010.
Defendant Briana Soto (“Defendant” or “Ms. Soto”) is also a member of the Series.
For many years, we have had a well-publicized feud. Parties not related to this suit have described us as longtime nemeses.
I submit this affidavit in opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (the “Motion”) pursuant to Florida Statute§ 768.295 and in support of my case.
For the reasons stated below, as well as those set forth in the accompanying affidavit of Natalie Knapp, the Motion should be denied. Pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 768.295, I should also be awarded my attorneys’ fees and costs.
Ms. Soto’s Affidavit and Statements – Standing Alone – Illustrate That She Defamed Me
I have sued Ms. Soto for defamation. Specifically, I have sued her for falsely accusing me of breaking and entering into the home of my son’s grandmother.
Ms. Soto published the statement, “Kail doesn’t wanna [sic] film about breaking and entering into Chris Momma house and beating him for cutting his child’s hair” (herein, the “Post”).
Ms. Soto submissions to this court do not address her statement that I broke into and entered my son’s grandmother’s home – the only part of the Post that charges me with an infamous crime.
While the other portions of Ms. Soto’s allegations are also untrue, my understanding is that they do not rise to the level of “infamous crime” under Florida law that requires a crime to be a felony. Therefore, even though the other statements Ms. Soto made were lies, they are not the focus of this lawsuit.
The Court should pay special attention to the fact that Ms. Soto’s affidavit is remarkably inconsistent with previous statements she has made concerning both the source and the nature of her defamatory remarks about me.
For example, on Instagram, Ms. Soto stated that she received her information from “from the people that were in production, that were part of the team and [M]TV”.
She later comments, “So, and ‘now what about Kail breaking into Chris mama house.’ Honestly, I can’t even get into that, I just heard a story, someone told me something about something, and that’s why Kail didn’t want to film and that’s why she won’t – that’s why she wasn’t on tonight’s episode. People tell me things, and I just listen. So there’s that.”
Despite Ms. Soto initially crediting her source as “production,” meaning the producers and crew that film and edit the Series, she now claims that Christopher Lopez (“Chris”), my former romantic partner, is the source of her information.
Chris has never been involved in production of the Series.
It is my understanding that Chris has recently joined the cast of the Series.
However, he was not a cast member at the time Ms. Soto’s statements were made.
While my lawsuit concerns Ms. Soto gossiping that I have committed a serious felony, her motion papers frame her statement in terms of speaking about the Series. However, even if the Court were to accept this false construction, it is unclear how Chris would have any knowledge concerning me being filmed for the Series, as he has never been in the position to have this knowledge. He has never been assigned as one of my producers and he certainly is not on crew. Even in his current position as a cast member, he would not be privy to information concerning my filming of the Series.
Further, while Defendant’s attorney goes to great lengths to characterize Ms. Soto’s statements as opinion rather than fact, Ms. Soto herself already stated the opposite when she characterized her remarks as “just stating facts. So that’s what happened.” Indeed, she stressed that her comments were “true facts,” rather than opinion.
Immediately before the Post, Ms. Soto also openly admitted that she was just indulging in gossip rather than news reporting (“so let’s go back to all the drama”) while mentioning no less than three times in about as many sentences that she had “messed” with my ex-husband.
Therefore, based on Ms. Soto’s own submissions to this Court and the Post itself, she has defamed me.
Chris is Not the Source of Ms. Soto’s Information and I Have the Texts to Prove It
Since the filing of this lawsuit, Chris has reached out to me to tell me that he did not provide Ms. Soto with the false information.
A true and correct copy of a screenshot of the text message that I received from Chris is included as Exhibit C herein, which shows a text conversation between Chris and Ms. Soto, where he states “But why do y’all keep saying she forced her way in? She didn’t.. my mom let her in the crib.”
Similarly, and back in 2020, Chris’ mother, Christine Lopez (“Christine”) texted me about the argument. In that text Christine states that I am always welcome in her home and that she opened the door for me that day. A true and correct copy of the text that I received from Christine on September 11, 2020, is included as Exhibit D herein.
Thus, it appears that Ms. Soto completely fabricated her story.
Notably, Ms. Soto failed to address my allegations that she peddled this fake story so she could likely cash in on a pay per click agreement with CeleBuzz.com. Her silence speaks volumes.
#TeenMom2 Kail Lowry sues Briana DeJesus over Briana's claims that Kail broke into Chris Lopez's mom's house & beat him because of their son's haircut. Get a recap and/or read the whole lawsuit. Plus, Briana's sister Brittany and mom Roxanne respond. https://t.co/kk3N8H1NH4 pic.twitter.com/SR5qt9pxuy
— Starcasm (@starcasm) July 9, 2021
I Did Not Put My Hands on Chris
Chris and I have gone through a lot over the years. We have had a very public “on again off again” relationship that has resulted in two wonderful boys, one of which is our son Lux.
On September 4, 2020, my friend Natalie and I, along with her teenaged son, went to pick up Lux from a visit at his grandmother’s (Christine’s) home.
Natalie’s son was buckling Lux into his car seat when he realized that Lux’s hair was cut in a very bad way.
At the time, and by order of the Family Court, any visits with Lux occurring at Christine’s house where Chris was present were to be supervised.
At the time, I also had an Order of Protection From Abuse (“Order of Protection”) against Chris. Additionally, there were several issues that he and I were litigating before the Family Court.
Given these facts, my relationship with Chris could graciously be described as strained.
After seeing that Lux’s hair was cut with what appeared to be house scissors, I left the vehicle and walked to Christine’s house from the car.
Natalie followed closely behind me. Christine opened the door for us. I did not “break and enter” into her house.
After meeting Chris in the kitchen, we argued. It was loud, but it was not physical. Our argument lasted for just a few minutes until I was asked to leave, which I did.
For the sake of absolute clarity, at no point in time did I place my hands on Chris or hit him or touch him.
Unbeknownst to me, after I left, Chris contacted the authorities to report me for offensive touching. These are the same charges that I had previously filed against him. At the time he reported me, he was still on probation concerning these charges.
I first learned of the charges that Chris filed against me approximately three weeks after Lux’s haircut when I was contacted by a police officer. I was not contacted, or even aware, that Chris contacted the authorities before that time.
I did not believe the report was real until my lawyer investigated and verified that charges were filed.
The charges that Chris filed against me were ultimately dropped and expunged.
As I understand it, a nolle prosequi was entered in my case, which dismissed the charges.
I maintain primary custody of the boys and believe that charges were filed against me to gain leverage in the Family Court proceedings.
Even if Chris Actually Told Ms. Soto That I Hit Him, Which is Doubtful, Her Reliance on His Statements Would Be Completely Unreasonable and Negligent
Upon information and belief, Chris and Ms. Soto have never actually met. The source of my belief is previous conversations that I have had with Chris. Chris lives in Delaware and Ms. Soto lives in Florida. My understanding is that they have communicated via electronic means from time to time and that he once “liked” a picture of her on social media to get my attention.
Now that Chris has joined the Series, this may have changed, but at the time of the Post, I understand that this was true.
Ms. Soto has previously, and quite publicly and without provocation by either me or Chris, accused Chris of beating me in front of our boys. After Ms. Soto was criticized by a fan for “talking trash” to me in front of my children on an episode of the Series, she responded,” … I wasn’t talking s**t and shut the fl’*k up ’cause she gets beat the f**k up by Chris in front of her kids.”
True and correct copies of articles covering these Ms. Soto’s statements are enclosed herein as Exhibit E.
My Order of Protection against Chris, and his subsequent arrests for violating that order, are also public knowledge.
Accordingly, even if Chris did tell Ms. Soto that I hit him, which is a lie, any reliance she could place on his statement would be objectively unreasonable.
#TeenMom2 Briana DeJesus' attorney files 42-page response to Kail Lowry's defamation lawsuit. Briana says that Chris Lopez told her Kail broke into his mom's house the day she allegedly assaulted him & was later arrested. Full recap + pdfs of the filing! https://t.co/TRtuw3U4Yq pic.twitter.com/6x2zOQYafE
— Starcasm (@starcasm) August 10, 2021
The Real Reason Why I Was Not Included in the Episode
I have been in the public eye since I have been a teenager. I am now nearing 30.
While I have allowed filming in my home for years, I recently requested that the Series not film about someone I have been dating.
It is my understanding that this resulted in me not being included in the June 8, 2021 episode of the Series. It had nothing to do with my arrest that was expunged or the allegations that were made against me that resulted in that arrest.
Ms. Soto’s Untrue Statements Are The Type That Tend To Injure My Business, Reputation and Occupation
As stated earlier, I am cast member of the Series. I also co-host two podcasts, which obviously rely on corporate sponsors.
Additionally, I am a social media influencer, author, and business owner. My reputation is important.
Clients and consumers are extremely conscious of where and who they choose to support.
As a result of Ms. Soto’s statements, I had fans post on Instagram and said they will no longer support me and tagged several of my sponsors referencing the false statements.
After Soto made the Post, people on Instagram expressed that they would no longer support me. Soto’s false statements concerning crimes that she alleged I committed were referenced in these withdrawals of support. Examples of this are found in Exhibit F, which are true and accurate screenshots taken from Instagram posts that occurred on or after June 9, 2021.
On or around June 9, 2021, Instagram user @wadamelen posted, upon information and belief, a list of the Series’ and MTV’s sponsors, and referenced Soto’s false statements. I believe these sponsors were tagged in an effort to have me terminated from the Series. A true and accurate screenshot taken from Instagram is attached as Exhibit G.
Seeing Ms. Soto’s lies about me and her statements that I committed serious crimes, which were false, was and is extremely upsetting.
As a result of Ms. Soto’s statements, I have suffered personal humiliation and mental anguish.
My reputation, business, and ability to make money and provide for my family were harmed because of Ms. Soto.
The Bad Blood Between Ms. Soto and I and Her Statements Accompanying the Post Demonstrate That She Acted With Malice and Not to Advance Her First Amendment Rights but to Gratify Her Ill Will and Hostility Toward Me
As detailed in my Complaint, Ms. Soto and I have a long history of bad blood.
As she acknowledges in her moving papers, she has dated, or as she described, “messed with,” my ex-husband.
When called out by a fan of the Series for speaking down to me in front of my children, she responded by accusing Chris of beating me in front of my children.
She has publicly flirted with Chris, despite calling him an abuser. See Exhibit H.
During the filming a of reunion show for the Series several years back, Ms. Soto started yelling at me and while security was holding Ms. Soto and I apart, Ms. Soto’s sister ran up behind me and forcefully pulled my hair.
Ms. Soto continued to propagate the falsities found in the Post even after I came out and stated they were not true.
The Post was motivated by Ms. Soto’s malice and ill will toward me, as well as a willingness to make money at my expense – not to assert her First Amendment rights. As she said, she wanted to get “back to the drama.”
This suit has nothing to do with stifling Ms. Soto’s rights – is has everything to do with protecting my rights, my reputation, and my livelihood.
Ms. Soto Is A Non-Media Defendant Who Is Gossiping About Me — She Is Not Breaking News
Lastly, Ms. Soto’s Instagram page is not a news source.
Instagram, like Facebook, allows users to share posts. Where Facebook has “friends,” users of Instagram have followers.
Instagram Live allows people to share a live video with those that follow them.
This video is typically available for twenty-four hours before it is automatically deleted by Instagram.
Instagram Stories allows people to share posts and recorded videos with those that follow them. These stories are available for twenty-four hours before it is automatically deleted by Instagram.
Of the approximately two hundred posts on Ms. Soto’s Instagram page, all of her posts to date are of pictures of her children, herself, of her personal life.
Upon information and belief, Ms. Soto also posts on Instagram Stories, which delete after approximately twenty-four hours.
Ms. Soto’s Instagram is not a news source or blog that provides thoughtful, neutral commentary.
Rather, her Instagram page is used to promote her personal life and endorse various brands.
The Post which was shared on Instagram Live was gossip, not news. It was als false.
Ms. Soto’s Statements Are Not Connected With Public Issues And Cannot Be Protected Speech
Ms. Soto’s false statements at issue in this lawsuit are directed at me, as an individual.
In Ms. Soto’s June 9, 2021 Instagram Live video, she asserted that that I committed a felony when she alleged that I broke into and entered into the home of my sons’ grandmother.
Ms. Soto stated this well after charges against me were dropped and expunged.
Yet, she repeatedly stated that I committed the crimes of breaking and entering and physical assault.
Ms. Soto even admitted that she knew the charges were dropped against me.
Ms. Soto also alleged that she read an investigative police report which she attached to her Motion. See Soto Dec. at 10. According to that attachment, breaking and entering was not even alleged.
Ms. Soto’s statements in the Post about me committing a felony, just like her statements about her relationship to my ex-husband in that same post, were motivated by her desire to harm me. They had nothing to do with the Series. She just wanted to get “back to the drama.”
I Should Be Awarded My Attorneys’ Fees
I did not bring the lawsuit to prevent free speech. I brought this lawsuit because Ms. Soto, who has a personal axe to grind with me, has defamed me. She did so all while padding her own pockets by selling a fake story to CeleBuzz.com. Her affidavit did not address my claims that she peddled this fake story for clicks — which probably means she did.
For all the reasons stated herein, as well as those found in the Affidavit of Natalie Knapp and the accompanying memorandum oflaw, Defendant’s motion should be denied in its entirety, and I should be awarded my attorneys· costs and pursuant to Fla. Stat. § 768.295
***END OF KAIL’S AFFIDAVIT***
— Starcasm (@starcasm) July 27, 2021
For those of you who are really into the Teen Mom Trial of the Century, here are some lengthy excerpts from the rest of the filing. I’ve tried to remove a lot of the legalese (especially entire paragraphs) and leave an interesting and understandable read.
Kail’s latest lawsuit motion highlights
Plaintiff Kailyn Lowry (“Lowry”) respectfully submits this memorandum of law in opposition to the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Brianna Soto, professionally known as Brianna De Jesus (“Soto”), on August 9, 2021 (“Motion”).
Seeking an early exit from the case and the avoidance of a deposition and trial, Soto suggests that her remarks contained in the Instagram Live post of June 9, 2021 (the “Post”) were not made to satiate her personal grudge with Lowry. Instead, Soto states that she was engaged in protected speech about matters of public concern, namely Lowry’s absence from the June 8, 2021 episode of Teen Mom 2 (the “Series”). Soto’s own commentary in the Post, and her statements after the Post, tell a different story.
Soto kicks-off the Post off by exclaiming, “so let’s go back to all the drama.” From there, she quickly reminds those watching her live video, no less than three times in nearly as many sentences, that she “messed around” with Lowry’s ex-husband (not Christopher Lopez, herein “Chris”) — very old news. Soto reminds everyone of the historic beef she had with Lowry, and the fact that Lowry is comfortable with their relationship being cool rather than cordial, given the history between the two women.
In the Post, Soto asserts, “Kail did not want to film about the situation with the domestic violence, about her getting arrested, about her breaking and entering into Kail’s mom, I mean into Chris’s mom’s house. She didn’t want to film about her hitting Chris, because Chris cut her son’s hair. She doesn’t want to film about any of that. So it’s not my fault that she got cut from the episode. I was just stating facts. Right?” (emphasis added).
Later in the Post, and seemingly unrelated to anything that she was then discussing, Soto doubles down and states, “So, and ‘now what about Kail breaking into Chris mama house.‘ Honestly, I can’t even get into that, I just heard a story, someone told me something about something, and that’s why Kail didn’t want to film and that’s why she won’t — that’s why she wasn’t on tonight’s episode. People tell me things, and I just listen. So there’s that.” (emphasis added).
According to Soto’s Motion, she obtained this information from Chris, who she cites as a credible source. However, in the Post itself Soto credits the source of her information to “production,” meaning the producers and crew that film Lowry in the Series. Chris is not, and never has been, a part of production.
Texts received by Lowry from Christine Lopez (“Christine”), the person whose home Soto alleges that Lowry broke into-undeniably state that Christine let Lowry into her home.
There are other issues with the narrative Soto now advances. Even if Chris provided her with this information, which his own texts state that he did not, any reliance Soto could place on Chris as a source would be inherently unreasonable. Soto has never even met Chris. She has previously accused Chris of beating Lowry in front of Lowry’s children-an accusation that was neither provoked by anything Lowry or Chris said or did, but instead was a reaction Soto had after a fan of the Series was critical of Soto for verbally attacking Lowry in front of Lowry’s children.
Lowry and Chris have also been involved in long and contentious proceedings before the Family Court. This, along with Lowry’s Order of Protection From Abuse (“Order of Protection”) against Chris, is all knowledge known to Soto. Thus, no reasonable person could believe that Chris’ statements, if they were even made to Soto, concerning Lowry, were credible. Instead, the opposite would be true. A reasonable person would likely believe that Chris was making false allegations to obtain an advantage over Lowry in their legal proceedings.
Soto cites what appears to be a redacted copy of Lowry’s arrest report as an additional source of her information. However, the Post accused Lowry of breaking and entering — a felony-which is not referenced anywhere in the document she cites as an alternative source. The Post also says nothing about her reading a report. Instead, Soto says she was retelling a story “someone told me.”
Importantly, and a fact that should not be lost on the Court, Soto’s defamatory post accuses Lowry not just of being arrested but of actually “breaking and entering” and “hitting Chris.” As discussed in the affidavits of persons who were actually at Christine’s home on the day that Lowry’s son’s hair was cut, this [is] wholly untrue. Instead, Lowry and Chris had a heated, but short, verbal argument. Lowry did not break into anyone’s home or hit Chris.
Adding further insult to all of this, Soto admits to knowing that the charges against Lowry were dropped and that Lowry denied ever hitting Chris.
The fact is the Post is untrue. Lowry did not break into or enter into the home of her son’s grandmother. She did not put her hands on Chris. And indeed, the reason she was not included in the episode was not because she was refusing to film about the arrest or “breaking and entering” or “hitting Chris” but instead because she was dating someone new.
Regarding the more technical pieces of Soto’s motion, Soto’s Post is not protected opinion. She states this herself when she asserted that she was “just stating facts.” Disseminating unverified gossip about a rival, especially as it may relate to oneself, is not protected speech and does not make Soto a media defendant. If this were the case, all persons using social media in Florida could claim status as a media defendant — this is a result that the courts have already rejected.
Lastly, Soto’s use of Instagram is not “other media” as contemplated by Florida Statute §770.01. She is not a media defendant, as her commentary is neither disinterested nor neutral. She did not properly source her information. Instead, it appears she made it up. This is a far cry from bloggers breaking news. Thus, Lowry was not required to provide Soto with notice prior to filing this lawsuit.
For all the reasons stated herein, as well as those set forth in the accompanying affidavits, Soto’s motion should be denied, this case should be tried, and Lowry should be awarded her attorneys’ fees and costs.
Excerpts from the filing’s ‘argument’
Soto’s weak attempts to mask an individual attack on Lowry as protected speech in connection with a public issue must fail. Soto’s statements viewed in the context of the whole record, reveal that Soto had an individual interest to disseminate this false information targeting Lowry, her nemesis. Soto’s statements were made solely in her own individual interest and to her specific business audience.
The Post itself brings up many negative issues concerning Lowry, that have nothing to do with the arrest, the alleged breaking and entering, or allegations concerning Lowry’s assault. (“Anyways, I messed around with somebody’s ex-husband; I get it, you hate me for that …. I messed with her ex-husband, I get it, whatever. Me and Kail were never friends ….”). Soto was not engaged in speech concerning a public issue. Instead, she made a targeted attack on her rival, Lowry, and is now attempting to avoid liability for her defamatory remarks by masking her defamation as commentary on an issue of public concern.
Additionally, contrary to Soto’s assertions, Soto’s defamatory statements actually relate to Lowry as an individual, not to the Series. Soto’s statements imputed Lowry with committing crimes, including a felony. As discussed in more detail below, the statements were wholly false and clearly damaging to Lowry’s business reputation.
Soto cannot rely on third-party media reports on the status of the charges against Lowry — that were dropped and expunged — to show that her statements are connected with public issues. Nowhere in any of the third-party media articles that Soto claims to rely upon does it state that Lowry broke in and entered the home of Christine.
Importantly, Soto did not speak about the status of the charges against Lowry. Instead, she specifically asserted that Lowry committed the crimes of breaking and entering and physical assault. Levenson Dec, at Ex. A (“about her breaking and entering into Kail’s mom, I mean into Chris’s mom’s house. She didn’t want to film about her hitting Chris“) (emphasis added).
Soto’s comments well-exceed the scope of protection afforded by the anti-SLAPP statute and the First Amendment. Thus, the Court should deny the Motion.
Lowry easily satisfies each element of a defamation claim. Soto falsely, and publicly, imputed Lowry with committing an infamous crime on Instagram.
The Post was published to third parties. Soto did not even attempt to assert differently in her submissions to this Court. Soto admits she posted the defamatory statements on Instagram. Thus, it is clear that Soto published the Post to third-parties.
Soto accused Lowry of a felony that she did not commit. Soto initially cited her source as a member of the Series “production,” to then change her story to state that the source of her information is Chris, who has since denied telling Soto any such information. Chris has never been involved in the production of the Series.
Further, texts sent by Chris’ mother, Christine, to Lowry in September of 2020, demonstrate that Lowry was let into Christine’s home; no one “broke in.”
Desperately seeking a source, Soto points to a Hollywood Life story, that included what appears to be a redacted police report. However, nowhere in that story, or the documents it cites, is there any mention of Lowry breaking and entering into Christine’s home.
Soto acted with actual malice. Soto clearly disseminated the false statements “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.” At a minimum, Soto acted with a “high degree of awareness of probably falsity.”
The U.S. Supreme Court has provided examples of the type of evidence that would support a finding of actual malice. These examples include evidence that the story was “fabricated,” based on a source that the defendant had “obvious reasons to doubt,” and where the “allegations are so inherently improbable that only a reckless [wo]man would have put them into circulation.” Moreover, “an inference of actual malice can be drawn when a defendant publishes a defamatory statement that contradicts information known to [her], even when the defendant testifies that [she] believed that the statement was not defamatory and was consistent with the facts within [her] knowledge.”
Soto’s self-serving affidavit cannot guide her to victory. Soto claiming Chris as a credible source, while previously accusing him of beating Lowry in front of her children, places Chris’ position as a reliable narrator in obvious doubt. Chris’ unreliability as source of information about Lowry is heightened because it is well known that Lowry and Chris have been engaged in contentious proceedings before the Family Court and that Lowry had an Order of Protection against Chris. Soto’s reliance on Chris’ statements is further incredulous as they have never even met.
Further, text messages provided by Chris to Lowry between Chris and Soto also disprove Soto’s statement that Chris is the source of Soto’s information. Of course, the Post initially credited Soto’s source as “production,” a contention which she now seems to have abandoned. It appears that the real source of this information is Soto herself and that she fabricated the Post for the purpose of harming Lowry. Thus, Lowry has proven actual malice.
Soto’s Request For Summary Judgement Must Be Denied Because There Are Several Material Facts That Are in Dispute
Summary judgment is not appropriate because there is a genuine dispute between the parties concerning several material facts including:
(1) the falsity of the Post
(2) the source of Soto’s information that she published
(3) whether Soto’s reliance on Chris, if this is even true, was reckless
(4)Soto’s actual malice in publishing the Post
Given the sharp dispute concerning these issues of material fact, Soto’s request for summary judgment should be denied and parties should move forward with discovery.