Lansing, Michigan (July 9, 2013) — Yesterday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national, non-profit Judeo-Christian law firm, filed a motion for summary disposition in the Ingham County Circuit Court, seeking to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by former Michigan State Representative Lisa Brown against her former legislative assistant, Ericah Caughey. AFLC is defending Caughey in this lawsuit, which alleges that Caughey made defamatory statements about Brown in recent political campaign videos. The statements related to Brown’s abrupt firing of Caughey in 2009 while Caughey was pregnant.
Brown gained national notoriety last year when she made provocative statements – including an obscene reference to her female anatomy – in support of her staunch pro-abortion political position during a debate on legislation that would have placed restrictions on abortion in Michigan. The Michigan House of Representatives subsequently censured Brown for making the vulgar comments. However, as expected, Brown garnered acclaim and adoration from liberals nationwide for her outspoken support of abortion.
Robert J. Muise, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, commented: “It is ironic that a public official who has used the outer boundaries of the constitutional protections for political speech now seeks to punish such speech. However, as a public official, Brown has a virtually insurmountable mountain to climb to silence Ms. Caughey, whose speech is afforded the greatest protection under the First Amendment.”
After being gerrymandered out of her House district seat last year, Brown successfully ran for Oakland County Clerk, beating out the Republican incumbent. During the course of this contentious political campaign, Caughey agreed to be interviewed on camera to discuss the way Brown treated her when she worked as a legislative assistant. In the published campaign videos, Caughey, a young mother who was pregnant at the time of the incident, claimed that “after making crude comments about chasing me with a coat hanger, [Brown] fired me without explanation.” According to Caughey, Brown was angered over a pro-life demonstration that was taking place outside, and her comments were in reference to using Caughey to make a “pro-choice” point to the demonstrators.
On May 8, 2013, Brown filed a defamation lawsuit against Caughey, claiming that her comments were defamatory and that they harmed her “excellent reputation” as a “staunch advocate” for women’s rights.
David Yerushalmi, AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel, noted: “This facially bogus lawsuit is just another example of the liberals’ approach to freedom as a one-way street to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: inconvenient life will be aborted and uncomfortable speech will be prosecuted. But we have news for Ms. Brown: Not on our watch.”
AFLC’s motion for summary disposition argues that Brown’s defamation claims are not actionable as a matter of law and therefore should be dismissed.