Proving the Unprovable in SLAPP Response
You may recall the legal battle between Tiverton Citizens for Change (TCC) President and current Town Council Member David Nelson and form Town Council Members Louise Durfee and Joanne Arruda. The latest development is thut Superior Court Judge Melanie Thunberg has denied Nelson’s request for a summary judgment. According to a Sakonnet Times article, not online:
Lawyers for both sides said in separate interviews that the reason Judge Thunberg ruled as she did was that she believed a key fact was in dispute.
Jeffrey Schreck, who represents Ms. Arruda and Ms. Durfee, said the “critical disputed fact was whether Mr. Nelson knew that what he was saying was false.”
Jennifer Azevedo, the lawyer representing Mr. Nelson, said Judge Thunberg believed “there were facts in dispute with respect to whether Mr. Nelson did or did not know that the statements he made were false.”
One needn’t be intimately familiar with the case to wonder how it could even be conceivably true that Nelson knew the offending statement, which follows, to be inaccurate (if it was, indeed, inaccurate, which is similarly impossible to prove):
Still worse are the efforts of Ms Durfee, Joanne Arruda and their allies, in deliberate cooperation with the Town Administrator to avoid a Town Council vote exceeding the State Tax cap. They have submitted false documentation to the State to facilitate a tax increase of at least 9%.
It is simply beyond debate that Durfee and Arruda worked “to avoid a Town Council vote.” And it wouldn’t be possible to prove that they weren’t, in some way, included in a group of “allies,” with Goncalo as the point person, that submitted false documents to the state — much less that Nelson knew that when the events were still fresh.
The concern that Dave has, which I share, is that so immense would be the scope of communications necessary to determine that he knowingly fabricated the cooperation that Durfee, Arruda, and their political allies would gain access during the discovery process to a veritable book of politically relevant communications between Nelson and his own allies.