Team Kimberlin Post of the Day

One of the running gags in the mockery of Team Kimberlin is that they get their legal advice from lawyers at the same company supplying all those wonderful products to a certain coyote. I call the firm Acme Legal. This Prevarication Du Jour from seven years ago today debunked one of Bill Schmalfeldt’s crackpot legal theories.

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@weltschmerz2015|201502011911ZThe Dreadful Pro-Se Schmalfeldt seems to think that in a defamation suit the burden is on the defendant to prove that what he said or wrote is true. That’s exactly wrong. Here’s what the Maryland Court of Appeals has said.

In order to plead properly a defamation claim under Maryland law, a plaintiff must allege specific facts establishing four elements to the satisfaction of the fact-finder: “‘(1) that the defendant made a defamatory statement to a third person, (2) that the statement was false, (3) that the defendant was legally at fault in making the statement, and (4) that the plaintiff thereby suffered harm.'” Indep. Newspapers, Inc. v. Brodie, 407 Md. 415, 441, 966 A.2d 432, 448 (2009) (quoting Offen v. Brenner, 402 Md. 191, 198, 935 A.2d 719, 723-24 (2007)). … Under the second element, a “false” statement is one “that is not substantially correct.” Batson v. Shiflett, 325 Md. 684, 726, 602 A.2d 1191, 1213 (1992). The plaintiff carries the burden to prove falsity. Id.

Piscatelli v. Van Smith, 424 Md. 294, 35 A.3d 1140, 1147 (2012). (Emphasis added.) This is one of the points that tripped up The Dread Pro-Se Kimberlin in his Kimberlin v. Walker, et al. nuisance lawsuit.

Another thing that seems to trip up Acme Legal is the incorrect belief that defamation per se some how erases the plaintiff’s burden to prove falsity. It doesn’t. Defamation per se deals with whether or not damages have to be proven. The fact that any defamation occurred must still be demonstrated, and that requires proving that the statements made by the defendant(s) were false.

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Their problem isn’t that they don’t know much. It’s that much of what they know is wrong.