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Cape Vincent bloggers ask that defamation suit be dismissed

State Supreme Court Judge James P. McClusky is expected to decide next month whether a defamation suit against two Cape Vincent bloggers should proceed or be dismissed.

Richard C. Wiley Sr., author of a blog at jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com, and Kathryn A. Hludzenski, author of pandorasboxofrocks.blogspot.com, were sued in July by several longtime Cape Vincent residents who are proponents of a wind farm development in the town.

The suit was brought by Marty T. Mason, Donald J. Mason, Gary J. King, Harvey J. White, Paul C. Mason, Darrell and Marlene Burton and Frank J. Giaquinto, who contend the bloggers have damaged their reputations by publishing false information about them. The two Mr. Masons claim the published statements cost them seats on the Town Council in the November 2011 election.

Mr. Wiley and Mrs. Hludzenski have filed a motion for summary judgment, asking that the lawsuit be dismissed. Judge McClusky adjourned the matter scheduled to be heard Thursday until April 18, at which time the parties have been told to appear. Judge McClusky has been known to decide motions from the bench.

According to the suit, all of the plaintiffs are “pro-wind” and have been involved with the groups Voters for Wind or Citizens for Fair Government. Each maintains that his or her personal and civic reputation has been damaged by blog posts that “go far beyond mere political disagreement” over their positions on wind power.

The plaintiffs are asking a judge to issue injunctions restraining Mr. Wiley and Mrs. Hludzenski from posting further alleged defamatory or false statements and order that the pair request that all Internet search engines remove the questionable comments previously posted. The lawsuit states the plaintiffs will be seeking subpoenas in an attempt to identify others who have anonymously posted allegedly defamatory comments on the blogs. These people, once identified, will be named as defendants in the action.

The suit also seeks an unspecified amount in monetary damages for alleged harm to the plaintiffs’ reputations, as well as emotional distress caused by the statements, according to the suit.