POPLAR GROVE, IL. (ECWd) –
After his mayoral election loss last year, Owen Costanza (former Village President of Poplar Grove), RMS Insurance Services, and Flanders Insurance Agency filed a lawsuit naming the current Village President of Poplar Grove, Donald Sattler, and three others including a reporter, as Defendants. Plaintiffs asked for more than $250K in damages.
We uploaded evidence of the truthfulness of their reporting in our article on the lawsuit (here).
A SLAPP suit, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, “is aimed at preventing citizens from exercising their political rights or punish those who have done so” Sandholm v Kuecker. They “masquerade as ordinary lawsuits” but are meritless.
This week all defendants filed their Motions to Dismiss (“MTD”) – we encourage you to take the time to read these Motions.
One Motion to Dismiss was a 2-619(a)(9) Motion pursuant to the Citizens Participation Act (“CPA”):
- From the CPA MTD (here):
- The only goal of Owen Costanza in this lawsuit is to silence his critics (para 15)
- Para 16 through 44 describe the lawsuit, parties, and publications
- Para 48 and beyond provide a response to Costanza’s claims, stating that based on the exhibits provided, Owen Costanza does have a criminal record, has committed multiple crimes, and was terminated from an insurance agency for fraud and misrepresentation (see the exhibits in this MTD)
- In paragraphs 49(A) through 49(M), they list the allegation, respond to it, and provide an exhibit to show the truthfulness of what they published in relation to Costanza.
- All of the exhibits are public record, including court records and records obtained from state departments in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois related to his alleged insurance issues.
- This CPA MTD is asking for dismissal based on the CPA, and payment of defendant’s attorney fees and costs
- A 2-615 Motion to Dismiss was filed on Counts I, II, and III arguing:
- plaintiff has not alleged anything that entitle him to relief
- A 2-615 Motion to Dismiss was filed on Counts V though IX arguing:
- because the Defendants were disseminating truthful information, regarding former Candidate Owen G. Costanza, a local and State political actor, the actions of the Defendants were both proper and aimed only at OWEN as a political figure.
- A 2-615 Motion to Dismiss was filed on Counts X though XVII arguing:
- plaintiff cannot establish that defendant’s statements were false
- The statements in the Flyer, including that statements that the Plaintiff is a “repeat criminal” and has a “criminal record” were accurate: the Plaintiff plead guilty to filing a false police report, the Plaintiff plead guilty to writing a bad check, the Plaintiff plead guilty to drunk driving
Arguments for these Motions to Dismiss are set for March 25, 2022, at 1:30 p.m., and April 29, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., in Boone County Circuit Courtroom 3.
Should defendants prevail on the CPA dismissal, Costanza would be required to pay their attorney fees.