This morning, my co-counsel from the ACLU of Ohio and I filed a motion asking a federal court to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by Robert Murray, CEO of the coal company Murray Energy Corp., against our client Mike Stark. Murray has sued over this article that Stark wrote on the Huffington Post blog about Murray’s campaign donations to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. Murray also has sued the Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, and others working for her site.
We believe Mr. Murray’s case has no merit. All the facts alleged by Mike Stark in his article are true, and the statements about which Mr. Murray complains are all expressions of opinion. The lawsuit, however, may have the effect of stifling debate about policy issues and about Mr. Murray and his company. So we are asking the judge to promptly dismiss it.
(Murray filed the case in state court in St. Clairsville, Ohio, but the defendants removed it to federal court in Columbus. The Huffington Post defendants and Murray filed a stipulation with the court yesterday giving Huffington three more weeks to respond to the Complaint. We didn’t object to that delay, but we didn’t want or need an extension for our reponse.)
Here’s Mike Stark’s Motion to Dismiss filed today:
And here’s Robert Murray’s Complaint: