Monday, March 27, 2017

Mayor's lawsuit dismissed.

The court fight between Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber and his former executive assistant took another turn last week.  U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan, III threw out Mayor Yarber's lawsuit against Kimberly Bracey.  Mrs. Bracey sued the Mayor and city of Jackson in August and made several salacious allegations.

The complaint mentioned strippers, fundraisers, and even body-paint.  She stated that she had an affair with the Mayor after he performed the wedding ceremony with her and her husband.  However, she claimed that she feared retaliation when she tried to end the affair.

Mayor Yarber sued her in return for defamation as he claimed that the allegations in her complaint were defamatory and had no basis in fact.  He also claimed that Mrs. Bracey "falsely" alleged in her complaint that she had a sexual relationship with the Mayor and that the Mayor had "numerous sexual relationships with other women" during his tenure as Mayor.  Attorney Judy Barnett represents the Mayor.  He also alleged that Ms. Bracey abused the service of process:

13.  That the filing of the Complaint and the filing and service of the Amended Complaint containing false allegations against the Counter-Plaintiff by the Counter-Defendant is a malicious perversion of a regularly issued civil process, for a purpose and to obtain a result not lawfully warranted or properly attainable thereby.

14.  That the actions of the Counter-Defendant were done with the intent to abuse the privileges of the legal system.
However, Judge Jordan made short work of this claim:

In this case, as in the cases cited above, Yarber’s counterclaim is “not based on any perversion of any process[;] rather, it [is] based simply on the filing of the suit.” Moon, 690 So. 2d at 1197 (citing Edwards, 93 So. 2d at 174); see also id. (“[T]he only process involved in this case was the summons. There were no arrests made, and there was no seizure of property. Thus, there was no improper use of process after it had been issued.”). Because Yarber’s abuse-of- process claim is based solely on Bracey’s filing of this lawsuit, the claim fails as a matter of law. The motion to dismiss is granted as to the abuse-of-process claim, which is dismissed with prejudice.

The learned jurist then delved into the defamation claim:

In his defamation count, Yarber claims that Bracey “made numerous false and defamatory statements concerning” him. Countercl. [9] at 10. All of the false statements attributed to Bracey in the facts section of the Counterclaim are described as contained within either the Complaint or the Amended Complaint in this matter....

Judge Jordan then stated the definition of defamation and said that statements, even if defamatory and untrue, were still protected if they were associated with a lawsuit.  However, Judge Jordan points out that the alleged defamatory statements took place in an interview between Ms. Bracey and the Clarion-Ledger's Anna Wolfe and were not included in the actual defamation lawsuit:

For his part, Yarber does not seem to dispute the absolute privilege afforded to statements made in judicial proceedings, instead characterizing the Counterclaim as including “defamatory statements [Bracey made] about [Yarber] to Anna Wolfe of the Clarion Ledger Newspaper that were printed in an article,” as well as statements made in a radio interview.  Counter-Pl.’s Resp. [17] at 3. But the Counterclaim does not reference these alleged statements, so as of now, they are  not part of Yarber’s defamation claim. As pleaded, the defamation claim fails to allege the unprivileged publication of any false statement.  The motion to dismiss is also granted as to the defamation claim, which is dismissed without prejudice.
The case currently moves along in the discovery phase.  


Marcel Ledbetter said...

This is more entertaining than the State Fair!

Anonymous said...

I'm not an attorney. Can someone tell me what happened in plain English?

Burke said...

Hang in there, Ms. Bracey. The Mayor is clearly desperate, likely because he has already been offered his last cigarette. Next, the blindfold. Here comes the priest.

Anonymous said...

4:17 p.m. What happened is Judge Jordan, probably the best federal judge we have on the bench in Mississippi, dismissed the Mayor's counterclaim which alleged abuse of process and defamation against the plaintiff. He did this because it is not an abuse of process to merely file a lawsuit and allegations made in a lawsuit cannot legally stand as grounds for defamation. In plain English, the mayor got sued by a former city hall employee for sexual harassment. He responded by filing a countersuit against that former employee for causes of action which were totally baseless. In other words, Mayor Yarber and his lawyer were full of sh**.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me why Yarber is running for re-election?! Is there something he knows that the rest of us don't?

He has disgraced his church, his family, and the city of Jackson. Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

The current Mayor may have disgraced all of the above list (or maybe not), but of the herd running, he is the only one who even begins to have a clue. The rest of the even possible candidates are full of ideals and hot air. There is a debate this week at the Convention Center and another coming up at the Medical Mall. Maybe someone can enlighten us all as to what date and time these are scheduled. Go and see for yourself if what I have stated is true or not.

Anonymous said...

4:49 Is right Jordan is a good judge.....but I disagree with the ruling.

The mayors lawyer filed an answer and one requirement is that counterclaims must be filed with the answer or they are waived. If the case is tried and the facts reveal the plaintiff lied and indeed made the allegations up....then the defamation claim could stand. Now the mayor would have to refile his claim and face the defense that "it was dismissed."

The abuse of process claim is much more difficult but the standards at this stage are so lenient toward the one with the burden of should not have been dismissed.

Jordan should have waited to rule on these until a trial on the merits....and if this is tried and appealed, I think he could be reversed.

Anonymous said...

7:58 you are mostly correct. Except that the abuse of process claim is not, as a matter of law, actionable based upon the simple filing of a lawsuit. Those allegations are not enough, which is why it was dismissed with prejudice. And the defamation claim only referenced what was alleged in the original complaint, which is privileged. That is why that claim was dismissed without prejudice. All of these rulings are sound. Good work Judge Jordan. And the fact that Yarber is running for reelection is almost as mind boggling as everything else absurd in modern politics, which means he probably has one hell of a shot at winning. Good grief.

Kingfish said...

The judge did kind of give the Mayor a way to amend his complaint.

Anonymous said...

Yarber might as well run because it does not matter who is mayor of Jackson. It is too far gone to matter. All which you have to pick from will get what they can and the City will just keep dropping. It all started with Ditto then took a sharp decline from there. Jackson is the worst city in America and will continue to go down more and more till the bills can not get paid.

Anonymous said...


you are the one who is correct....the judge has ruled!

but...I would not have ruled that way. Jordan has always been anal about claims and defenses.....which is why he is such a good judge....and will make an excellent 5th circuit judge

To Honor America, Mr. Tommy Loy said...

It's your fare, so be there!

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE involved, including Ms. Lady, I'm just too through with. How do you proceed to have an affair with the preacher/mayor who presided over your wedding?!?!? Did I read that right???? Why even get married!? Yarber, do you love the skirts that much? Glad you're not into hard legs, but chill Mayor, chill! You have a wife and children and I pray especially for them. You're Kwame Kilpatrick 2.0! Listen black politicians. You can't do even what we already know some of your white counterparts are doing because you'll get the book! Sadly, Yarber IS the only candidate with ANY speck of knowledge on where things "are" with Jackson, MS, now, I just wish there were more viable candidates. Not ONE who is running against him so far, even remotely makes me want to vote for them.

Corinthian Sanders said...

March 30, 2017 at 9:14am, What makes a viable candidate in this race or any race. No one is equipped with the knowledge of Mayor until they sit at that desk and with the responsibility at hand. What we as candidates have at our advantage is we are up against unpopular mayor and with serious allegations and distractions at City Hall, unbalanced budgets, underfunded programs and agencies, taxing expenditures and crumbling infrastructure that is being addressed with the traditional PAY-to-Play scheme. My team is working on a plan but I promise you I am not fancy in speaking nor willing to trade my professional experiences and expertise in for flattery.

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If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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