Defamation Lawsuit Case Study: Developer v. Local Politician?

Arizona defamation law
There’s a defamation standoff down in Flagstaff between a property developer and a local politician.

UPDATE: Looks like the mayor of Flagstaff is getting involved in the Landmark / Evans defamation debacle. The latest? Landmark properties withdrew its zoning request. City officials also released a statement saying they would represent Evans in the suit, but the Mayor doesn’t remember authorizing. So now there’s red-tape to tackle.

*** Original Article ***

A spokesman for a local property developer sued a local Flagstaff politician for defamation. Is the claim valid, or a sly attempt to influence a Council vote?

Flagstaff Defamation Lawsuit Background Info: Property Developer Wants To Build An Apartment Complex, But Local Residents Aren’t Thrilled

The Standard is a 650-bedroom student complex that Landmark Properties has been itching to erect in Flagstaff, Arizona. But there’s one major hurdle: the 50 or so families that would be displaced by the building. The affected families have been offered compensation for the considerable inconvenience – but hey, some people don’t want to move.

The Email That Prompted This Flagstaff Defamation Lawsuit

Back when plans for Landmark’s project first went public, a community activist sent a letter to the Arizona Daily Sun about The Standard. Her e-mail included opinions about the Landmark development project, and presumably some information about Joe Villasenor, a Landmark Spokesman.

Several months later, Vice Mayor Coral Evans forwarded that same email to various people in the community.

And now, Villasenor is suing Evans for defamation. He insists it has nothing to do with the pending “Standard” vote, despite the fact that once the lawsuit hit, Landmark formally requested that Evans recuse herself from the Council vote.

Evans insists the lawsuit is 100% politically motivated.

Interestingly, Villasenor did not include the e-mail’s author in the lawsuit, only Evans. His reason? Having an elected official – with political clout – “spread” defamatory information about you is a lot more detrimental than a private citizen doing the same.

Who Will Win This Flagstaff Defamation Lawsuit?

The winner of this Arizona defamation case will depend wholly on the facts of this case, and the evidence each side presents.

Another big issue will be whether or not the statements in question were true or false, because as the old saying goes: It’s not defamation if it is true!

Speak With A Defamation Attorney in Arizona

Defamation is a nuanced area of law. Kelly Warner is a top-rated Arizona law firm that focuses on slander and libel litigation.

What sets us above the rest is that we get things done as quickly – and quietly – as possible, so you can get back to living, without a defamation cloud hanging over your head.

Pick up the phone and call us, today. We know how to win defamation lawsuits in Arizona.

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