Dear Editor – Greenberg Wins Court Judgement Against The Culver City Observer

Dear Editor,

On February 13, 2019, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge entered a judgment in my favor, awarding both compensatory and punitive damages, against Culver City Observer, Inc.—operator of the Culver City Observer newspaper, whose publisher is Stephen Hadland—due to it defaming me. One day before the trial, Stephen Hadland removed himself from the case by petitioning for personal bankruptcy—Chapter 7 (“No property appears to be available to pay creditors.”).

The defamation involved my legal representation of the Ad Hoc Committee for Culver City Residents First (Committee) with respect to its anonymous door-to-door distribution of a political flyer during the last City-Council-election campaign. That flyer encouraged voters to vote, but not for two designated candidates.

In McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission 514 U.S. 334 (1995), the United States Supreme Court held, in pertinent part: “Under our Constitution, anonymous pamphleteering is not a pernicious, fraudulent practice, but an honorable tradition of advocacy and of dissent. Anonymity is a shield from the tyranny of the majority.”

The Judge found, in part, “Culver City Observer, Inc. published, via the Culver City Observer, the [] false statements [about me] with malice, acting intentionally and not recklessly, as part of an effort to intimate the [Committee] from exercising its Constitutional right of freedom of speech during a City-Council-election campaign.” The Culver City Observer incited vigilantes to follow and photograph Committee members. On its front-page, the newspaper published photographs of local residents who it claimed were Committee members.

In spite of the attempted intimidation, the Committee encourages all residents to invoke their Constitutional right of free speech during the next and all future City-Council elections. Furthermore, the Committee encourages new faces—who believe residents come first—to throw their hats into the ring.

Les Greenberg, Esquire

www.culvercitysymphony.org

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations are in order for Les’ win in obtaining his judgment. Les is spot on the judgment was only against the Culver Observer, Inc and not its publisher personally (because of his individual chapter 7 bankruptcy filing). However, what Les doesn’t mention (maybe just an oversight), is the amount of his judgment. The demand was for $300k in damages ($50k compensatory/actual + $250k punitive). The judgment obtained however was for $1,005 (or $5 compensatory and $1k punitive). Why you ask so low? Mr Greenberg presented his case without the Observer, Inc providing any defense. After Mr. Greenberg closed his arguments and presented evidence, the Judge found there was insufficient evidence presented as to damages suffered. So there you go.

    I can say the above with reasonable confidence as to accuracy as I represented Stephen Hadland in his individual bankruptcy.

    Final words, Les maybe the time is ripe for the “Committee” to encourage you to be that “new face” for our great city. So please consider throwing your hat in the ring!

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