A judge has dismissed former Metro Councilwoman Pam Murray’s long-drawn-out defamation suit in which she accused her campaign opponent and several constituents of libel actions leading up to her ouster two year ago via a special recall election.
The order ends the legal case involving Murray and former Councilman Jamie Hollin, who defeated Murray by two votes in a 2009 recall election. Murray, in a suit filed last year, charged Hollin and others of drafting false and defamatory statements during the campaign, including claims that she lived in Detroit, supported out-of-town landlords and misused tax dollars.
But Judge D.J. Alissandratos –– a retired Memphis chancellor who presided over the case after it moved to Williamson County Circuit Court –– on Friday ordered a case dismissal.
“The Court finds that the defendants’ evidence is not materially in dispute from the record and negates an essential part of plaintiff Murray’s case to such a degree that she can not prove her case,” the judge wrote.
Hollin, whose former District 5 seat is now held by Scott Davis after opting against re-election, called the judge’s order a victory for political free speech.
“I think it’s a recognition of a long-standing principle that is the First Amendment,” Hollin said. “Moreover, we contended and believed at the time that all those statements were absolutely true.
“What I’m most happy about is the members of the community that dared to participate in the political process have been absolutely vindicated,” he said.
Murray’s suit began with 11 defendants, but ended with just five. Besides Hollin, the judge dismissed claims made against defendants Pricilla Eaton, Larry Eaton, Jan Morrison and Teri Missildine.