Friday, February 26, 2016

URGENT: Legal Defense Fund for Tekton/TheologyWeb

Update 4/13/2016: The fundraiser has reached nearly $6000 at this point. See more details below.
 
2/28/2016: See note below regarding comments from others, including Rene Salm.

***

 This, I imagine, will be something of a ton of bricks to drop. It hasn't been discussed publicly until now for reasons that will be obvious.

In July 2015, 20 members of the TheologyWeb forum were named as targets of a “libel” lawsuit by a former atheist member.


So far only one of those 20 -- me -- has been served with complaint and summons, and litigation is in process. The other 19 include several owners and moderators, and a handful of "everyday" members. I'll leave it to them as to whether they wish to be identified, save that I'll note that one of them is my ministry partner, Nick Peters. He's the only one of the 20 besides me who is a public figure to any extent.


I had planned to do the defense myself (pro se), but logistical problems led me to decide it was better to hire an attorney in the area where this atheist lives, which I did. He's been working on the case since October.


A win for me in court will help shield the other 19 targeted defendants. We humbly ask for the assistance of others in defending ourselves from this lawsuit.

Any funds gathered will be used as follows:


1) To defray my attorney expenses, which have so far been just short of $8,000. Currently we are working on a motion to dismiss the case based on lack of personal jurisdiction (I do not live in the same state as the Plaintiff).
2) To prepare a similar defense for any of the others in the group, should they be served with a suit. At least 3 of the 19 others are in this Plaintiff's immediate crosshairs, including Nick.
3) To prepare an alternate defense, should either 1) fail, or should one of us be sued in our own home state.


I've set up a crowdfund page at
Funded Justice, which is a special website for legal fundraising only. I'm told it's a bit of a pain to register and donate, but it's also possible to choose an option to donate as a "guest" of the site:
 
https://www.fundedjustice.com/en/projects/28507-Tekton-TheologyWeb-Legal-Defense-Fund
 
That's all for now. For obvious reasons, I can't give too many details about the case, but I can be emailed (jphold@att.net) with specific questions and general questions can be answered at a thread on  TheologyWeb (where I posted an earlier version of this post as an  opening post):


http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?9852-Tekton-TheologyWeb-Legal-Defense-Fund

Since the nature of this post is urgent, I will not be adding any more to the Ticker for a while. 

***
As might be expected, certain fundy atheists out there are already adding to the story and making foolish remarks. For example, here's a corrective to Rene Salm's posting on the subject:

1)That's definitely NOT a picture of me he's got up.

2) Despite Salm's wishful fantasies, Tekton has NOT "been brought to its knees and must suspend all upcoming projects." I'm only not updating the Ticker blog for a while, so the fund appeal can stay on top. Everything else on my ministry plate (e-books, vids, etc) is proceeding as usual; the Ticker blog just represents 1% of my activity -- posting old E-Block articles.
 

 3) My wife got a good job back long ago. That crisis has been over for months.

It just goes to show that you can't count on the fundy atheist crowd to get ANYTHING right.

5 comments:

  1. Your atheist ex-member is angry and has badly miscalculated the odds of him winning a libel suit. (they're not good, to say the least). It's doubtful that any court will take him seriously.

    Nonetheless I have prayed for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Correct. I have read that perhaps 10% of libel suits get anywhere. Certain aspects are very, very hard to prove even if the alleged libel is 100% false.

      Delete
  2. Most libel suits are harassment suits. If they can, they force you down, but costs are the same for their side, as well. This is why I've not been sued by them, and that I have lawyers in the family. Where do I find your snail-mail addy? we can't send much but God is a big believer in putting your money where your mouth is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ordinarily true but the plaintiff in this case is indigent and pro se, so he has no costs.

      I appreciate any assistance, thank you. :) Best address is PO Box 112, Clarcona FL 32710-112.

      Delete
  3. Ouch, got it. Sorry, it's the weather. Been fighting bronchitis and pneumonia all winter, and a fever. Be blessed and you'll hear from me ASAP.

    ReplyDelete