By Lukas Eggen Ely Times Staff Writer
White Pine County Commissioner Mike Lemich filed a lawsuit against Cheryl Noriega, James Adams, Timothy McGowan and the Ely Jet Center alleging claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress and civil conspiracy. Attorney Richard Sears is representing Lemich.
“On or about July 15, 2013, Defendants published – orally and in writing – defamatory statements, without any privilege to publish the statements to third persons, defaming Mike in his reputation. The statements were false, and were, at the time they were made by the defendants, known to the Defendants, or any of them, to be false; or, the Defendants, upon reasonable investigation, could have determined that said statements were false prior to broadcasting the same to third persons.
Mike was injured in his reputation in the community in which he resides, and in the larger community in which he works.”
Noriega, Adams and McGowan filed a notice of intent to recall Commissioners Lemich and John Lampros.
“…Defendants, and each of them, published the false statements with actual malice or implied malice, knowing the statements were false, or with reckless disregard to the truth or falsity of the factual statements.”
Among the statements identified in the filing were (writing taken from Lemich’s filing):
Defendants falsely stated that Mike was responsible for a financial disaster in the White Pine County budget.
That Mike intimidated and threatened citizens, which would be a crime if true.
That Mike was under investigation by law enforcement for physical assault of a citizen.
That Mike was under investigation by law enforcement for theft: This statement was false when made when they stated he’s been the subject of several state and local investigations.
Lemich alleges the defendants injured his reputation with the false allegations with actual malice and that defendants knew Lemich was not the target of investigations or intimidated or threatened citizens who were doing business with White Pine County and the defendants should have exercised a reasonable amount of diligence to determine the truth and acted recklessly with regard to the truth.
The document also states the allegations have caused Lemich emotional stress and suffering.
Lemich is seeking a judgment for an excess of $10,000 for each count in the complaint for general damages, an excess of $10,000 for each count in the complaint for special damages, an excess of $10,000 for each count in the complaint for punitive and exemplary damages, for reasonable attorney fees and costs of suit for each count as alleged in the complaint and for such other and further relief as to the court seems just and proper.
As of press day, Commissioner Lampros has not filed a lawsuit.
A full list of statements in question as well as copies of the filing are available at the County Clerk’s office.
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