In a suit filed late yesterday in Davidson County Circuit Court, Pamela Murray, who represented District 5 from 2003 to 2009, accuses current Councilman Jamie Hollin of making false statements on a website and in various media about where she lived and worked in an effort to unseat her. The suit also names 11 other members she says were part of Hollin’s “We the People of District 5” groupFor his part CM Hollin expressed sadness to the news media that Murray would sue her constituents after an election. On his district blog he expresses his gratitude that the lawsuit is not affecting the co-defendants' participation in community meetings:
I am especially proud of the attendance by those individuals recently named as defendants in a lawsuit recently filed by my predecessor. It is indeed gratifying to know that such a frivolous act had NO impact on their participation in the political process, their service to community and the City of Nashville. Clearly, one can inference to be drawn from the lawsuit was that it seeks to prevent citizen participation in the democratic process. That goal failed miserably, which makes me very happy. My hat is off to you!
It is not clear to this layperson that Ms. Murray has a case given her previous status as a public figure and the inherent nature of hyper-local blogs as expressions of opinion, and thus, expressions of free speech. If she had been a private individual about whom someone was maliciously fabricating myths divorced from facts, then it seems to me she would have an argument.
Besides, how does Ms. Murray have any credibility to bring a defamation lawsuit when she accused CM Hollin of drug use and stalking when he was a lot less public than she was?