$135,000 fine for Emailing a CussWord
Jury finds activist defamed opposition activist
By TERI FIGUEROA – firstname.lastname@example.org
A North County jury on Thursday said the North County-based leader of the San Diego Minutemen should pay $135,000 in compensatory damages to a woman who sued him for defamation for his alleged role in posting obscene references to her online and in e-mails.
The same jurors will be back in court Tuesday to decide if anti-illegal immigration activist Jeff Schwilk should also be ordered to pay punitive damages to the woman, Joanne Yoon, who in 2006, worked as a camerawoman with organizations that monitored rallies at day-labor sites.
The jury found that Yoon was defamed in e-mails and on a Web site where she was referred to in vulgar terms. They also found that Schwilk had aided and abetted a second anti-immigration activist, Ray Carney, in the publishing of those statements.
Attorney Daniel Gilleon, who is representing Yoon, said the court entered a default against Carney, who did not file a response to Yoon’s complaint.
Attorney Howard Kaloogian, whose firm is representing Schwilk, said his client would appeal the jury’s verdict.
“The jury did not apply the proper New York Times standard for defamation involving a public figure like Joanne Yoon,” Kaloogian said.
In civil trials such as this one, it only takes a vote of nine of the 12 jurors to reach a verdict. The jurors did not disclose the final tally numbers to the court.
Contact staff writer Teri Figueroa at 760-740-5442.