The second of two local bloggers has reached a settlement agreement with a group of wind farm supporters who had claimed in a state Supreme Court lawsuit that they were defamed by comments posted on the blogs.
A stipulation of discontinuance ending the action against Kathryn A. Hludzenski, author of pandorasboxofrocks.blogspot.com, was filed Tuesday at the Jefferson County clerk’s office. A second blogger, Richard C. Wiley Sr., author of a blog at jeffersonleaningleft.blogspot.com, had reached a similar agreement in May.
The two were sued in July 2012 by Gary J. King, Marty T. Mason, Donald J. Mason, Harvey J. White, Paul C. Mason, Darrell and Marlene Burton and Frank J. Giaquinto, all of whom have been involved in either Voters for Wind or Citizens for Fair Government groups. The plaintiffs maintained that blogs written by Mr. Wiley and Mrs. Hludzenski contained defamatory statements that harmed their personal and civic reputations.
At the time Mr. Wiley reached the agreement settling his case, Judge James P. McClusky dismissed all but one cause of action against Mrs. Hludzenski, ruling that several statements made on her blog were either factual or protected opinion, not defamation. However, Judge McClusky said in his order filed May 13 that Mr. King was entitled to more information about a statement made about him and whether Mrs. Hludzenski knew the statement was false, but disregarded the information.
The judge refused to dismiss a statement in which Mrs. Hludzenski referred to the plaintiffs as a gang that was using “intimidation or exacting retribution” against people who had registered to vote in the town. Several seasonal town residents, most opposed to wind power, changed their voting registration from the municipality in which their primary homes are located to Cape Vincent in order to vote in town elections.
Mrs. Hludzenski’s blog claimed Harold L. Wiley and Mr. King collected a list of new voters and sent letters to assessors of the municipalities where they previously were registered to vote. Mr. King admitted that he collected the names of the new voters and was aware of the letter being sent, but denied that he drafted it, signed it or authorized its issuance. Judge McClusky said that with questions of fact being contested, he could not dismiss that portion of the complaint.
Terms of the settlement with Mrs. Hludzenski were not disclosed in court documents and she could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
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