Judge rules on information release in slander case
Kevin Boozer Staff Writer
WINNSBORO — Attorneys representing Jenkinsville Water company president Greg Ginyard in a slander lawsuit against water company customer Jeff Schaffer appeared before Judge Ernest Kinard on Thursday.
Upon hearing motions for defense and motions to squash a subpoena, the judge ruled that the Jenkinsville Water Company must make records available to Schaffer’s attorney, John D. Cox, provided requests are “reasonable” and/or pertain to public information.
Cox laid out a defense that relies upon inspecting records from JWC related to audits, allegations of missing money.
Ginyard attorney Crosby Lewis characterized the case as a slander case where his client was accused of stealing funds and accused of lying to the board of directors for the water company. Lewis objected to defense requests for Ginyard’s tax returns and 1099 forms for the past five years.
The judge ruled Ginyard supply three years of gross income records and 1090 forms from the water company, if he has in fact been paid by JWC.
The judge said that the defense was entitled to work his position and explore if the company were run properly and if so, then why people would say so.
“If it is not run properly, and I (then) say it is not run properly, that is no longer defamation. That’s truth,” Judge Kinard said.
The JWC attorney agreed to release information requested by the defense attorney provided it was subject to a protective order limiting it to this case. Kinard said he would review the case and go through information requests item by item if the attorneys still could not reach an agreement.
The lawsuit filed by Ginyard seeks actual and punitive damages from Schaffer totaling $50,000, with $25,000 punitive damages. In a documented response to the lawsuit, Schaffer asserted that his statements were not defamatory, were matters of opinion and therefore not actionable in court.
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