Berryville Resident Sues Local Newspaper

Berryville resident, Kenneth D. Liggins, has filed a $30 million lawsuit against a local newspaper and two of its reporters charging the newspaper acted recklessly in its reporting of a 2008 Clarke County School Board meeting in which Liggins was ordered to stop speaking by School Board Chairman, Robina Bouffault during a public comment period.

At issue, according to Liggins, are multiple reports carried in the Winchester Star that Liggins had been escorted from the school board meeting by a county deputy, a statement that Liggins says is false.

“Neither Nadler or Tayloe were even at the meeting as far as I know,” Liggins said. “As far as I know the only media at the meeting was Winchester TV3.”

Danielle Nadler and Monty Tayloe are reporters for the Winchester Star newspaper in Winchester, Virginia. A third reporter, Drew Houff, is no longer employed by the Winchester Star and is not mentioned in the lawsuit.

In his lawsuit, Liggins says that as professional news reporters, Nadler and Tayloe both knew that publishing false and misleading information has a natural tendency to injure a man’s reputation, either generally or with respect to his occupation, but that the Winchester Star continued and repeated publishing the false statement.

Liggins denies that he was led out the school board meeting by a county sheriff’s deputy and claims that he has 150 witnesses that will back up his assertion.

“It never happened,” Liggins says.

As evidence for his lawsuit, Liggins cites several stories published by the Winchester Star over a period of several months.

On October 2, 2009, then-reporter Drew Houff wrote, “Deputies subsequently removed Liggins from the meeting.” Houff’s statement was later repeated by reporter Monty Tayloe; “Eventually, the board summoned a county deputy, who removed Liggins from the meeting.” Tayloe wrote on October 16, 2009 and again on December 3, 2009

Reporter Danielle Nadler repeated the allegation on February 2, 2010 writing, “Eventually the board summoned a county deputy who removed Liggins from the meeting.”

Liggins says that the newspaper caused the harm to his reputation each time the allegations were repeated. Liggins also claims that because the information was published on the Winchester Star’s website, the persistent nature of Internet information makes it virtually impossible for him to ever correct what he says are false and malicious statements.

Liggins says that he is particularly angry that no effort was made to get the facts right before the information about him was published.

“Nadler and Tayloe wrote that I was escorted out of the meeting by sheriff deputies when they didn’t even attend the meeting and made no effort to get the correct information,” Liggins said. “If you’re going to be reporters then you need to do your due diligence before printing something.”

Liggins said that he is asking the Winchester District Court in Winchester, Virginia for $12.5 million in compensatory damages and $17.5 million in punitive damages. Liggins said that he expects an initial hearing on the lawsuit in approximately 30 days.

Reached by phone this afternnon, Winchester Star managing editor Maria Hileman  said that the paper had no comment on the lawsuit by Kenneth Liggins. When asked if the newspaper had printed any retractions related to the articles cites in Liggins claim Hileman repeated, “No comment.”

Comments

  1. Gotta get paid from somewhere I guess. *roll eyes*

  2. Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

    Man…this is starting to get out of control!

  3. nobody is harming his reputation but himself. What a joke? No wonder NOBODY takes him seriously

  4. jack starry says:

    Well, if you aren’t there to see it… check your facts before you report it. Newspapers have a responsibility to report the facts. Apparently these reporters didn’t.

    • Just sayin says:

      The two reporters named in the suit were citing reports filed by the reporter, who interstingly is not mentioned in the suit. Where was his complaint two years ago when the initial article was written?

      • jack starry says:

        I agree the lawsuit is frivolous… no question there. My only point is that if the reporters had actually researched before reporting, none of this would be happening. The newspaper created their own headache. Fuel for the plaintiffs “fire”

  5. T.Compher says:

    I guess he couldn’t get the money the first way so he has to try another. Stop crying over spilt milk. Wipe it up and go on with your life. Life is too short [redacted]

  6. Naked Truth says:

    Just pathetic. It’s a shame to fill the courts with such frivolous law suits. What a waste of time and money. [redacted]

  7. River Watcher says:

    Im not sure if anyone knows that Court records are available online. Its the Freedom of information act that allows this.

    I just took it upon myself to look up Kenneth D Liggings under civil suits for Clarke County. http://wasdmz2.courts.state.va.us/CJISWeb/Logoff.do

    Mr Liggings seems to have a few issues, one being he tried to sue the Town of Berryville in 2006. It was dismissed within a month, 2 weeks later he re-filed and this time had a lawyer but again it was dismissed.

    It does not give details of his lawsuit but it shows a pattern of his behavior.

    In my opinion Mr Liggins needs to find something better to do with his free time, filing lawsuits is not a way to make a living. Especially hurting the Community in which he lives in.

    This is a quote from the letter Mr Liggins wrote to the editor on CDN.
    “”I cannot abide by such behavior and guess that most of the people in this county and town wouldn’t either.””
    One should live by their own words…

  8. Just Curious.... says:

    WoW! [redacted] I guess the Winchester Star infringed on his CIVIL RIGHTS too??? First he tried to sue over a Parking Ticket, then he thought he would make it big with the School Board lawsuit, now the newspaper????[redacted]

  9. Dawn Price says:

    enjoy your life it is too short to go through this foolishness if i told the world every time i was not treated fair they would just laugh at me . right is right and wronge is wronge and all you are doing is hurting our town .. money does not rule this world love does .

  10. The Shocker says:

    This is a wonderful illustration of all that is wrong with tort law and our judicial system. If the loser of the case had to pay all court costs and the costs of the victorious party, perhaps this nonsense would stop.

  11. The only person ruining his reputation is himself. Nobody really even cared about the argument at the school board until this guy started threatening to sue about it! He has made himself look ridiculous! I would think that any attorney and/or judge in their right mind would see his history of this behavior and not even give him the time of day. Give me a break! It is really sad and this guy gives people who ARE actually being discriminated against for real and ARE being slandered INTENTIONALLY a bad name. Are you kidding…suing for stating that you were removed from the meeting? Maybe if you hadn’t acted inappropriately to begin with at the meeting- this would have NEVER happened. Seems to me everything that happened after his first inappropriate interactions at this meeting- has brought all of the rest of this on! So HE has done this to HIMSELF.. Sorry..it is what it is!! Now he’s trying to get paid off of his own irresponsible actions???..wow..what is this country coming too. This is down right embarrassing!!! How many of MY Tax $$$ will be spent trying this case?!!! WWWWWWWOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. dmaxnjackson says:

    [redacted] Get a life, and quit clogging up my legal system!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Was he escorted out of the meeting by the Sheriff’s dept? If he was and the reporters called the Sheriff’s office to get the correct news than it does not matter if they were there or not. Sadly this man has gotten his reputation so hurt by his own actions. Though I do not think this matter requires a law suit two years later. In fact I never heard that he was removed by deputies at all until I read about the lawsuit. Therefore he hurt his own reputation by bringing it to the attention of everyone. I believe that he hopes the Winchester Star will settle out of court,he gets some money (which is what he wants)and all will go away.

    CDN Editor: Mr Liggins claims that he was not escorted from the meeting by police.

  14. Time4change says:

    Are ANY of these playing nicely? I thought the requirements stated that all comments are expected to be nice. Perhaps it should also require constructive.

    CDN Editor: Per the CDN website comments section: “Comments are moderated so play nice. Comments that contain personal attacks will be deleted.”

    Comments do not necessarily need to be “nice”. Constructive comments are welcomed and encouraged. “Civil” dialog is welcome and encouraged. Profanity included in a comment may cause the comment to be excluded.

    • Darren "Fly" Lambert says:

      I think it takes away the credibility of his representation for Brenda Jones on the night of the meeting. It makes it look as if he had another motive up his sleeve! Just sayin…..

      • Boyce Resident says:

        I believe you are correct there Fly.If he would have been the first to speak at that meeting,it probably wouldn’t have have created all the commotion that this has because his opening statement would have probably come across different.After having time to see and judge the peoples reaction to some of the other commnts you cannot convince me it was not on Kenny’s mind to try to work the crowd into a uproar or frenzy by his opening statements.I think it also mostly stems from a personel vendetta against a certain person that he does not care for and this is where most of this stems from. [redacted] Maybe then he could just move on with his life and quit searching for this nonsensical way for a quick an easy payday.

  15. EnjoyNLife says:

    [redacted] I agree with someone above – or make him pay both sides court costs and attorneys fee’s when he looses again or even if the suit is dropped or dismissed. His fee’s should begin the moment he files. [redacted] Look at how much time, money have been spent by the taxpayers? FYI I am a Berryville resident. I hope the Star counter sues him and does not back down. [redacted] I do think media should report accurate information. But witness testimony is flawed because people see different things. Dr Phil did a show on it about a robbery and proved people do see different things and remember different things. Besides, who turns to today’s media for 100% ACCURACY. [redacted]

  16. It will not stop until there is a potential downside. Right now if he represents himself it is all gain.

    Here’s a thought – when a jury or judge determines a cases outcome they are required to designate valid or frivolous. If it’s frivolous they need to pay all costs!

  17. yousepeople says:

    I need money. Guess I’ll sue ummmmm over having no money and that’s someone else’s fault.

  18. That’s as bad as a 30+ year smoker that sued Phillip-Morris several years ago for some ridiculous amount- 200 Million? And won. And people know the effects of long term use of Tobacco.This fellow is trying to use the power of a slick attorney who would profit immensely over this. Only in America that this [redacted] continues….

    CDN Editor: Mr. Liggins is representing himself on this matter.

    • “CDN Editor: Mr. Liggins is representing himself on this matter”

      Thanks, I stand corrected…