Back on May 30th during the primary season, the former manager of Hoa Van Tran’s failed campaign for County Supervisor Edgardo Reynoso, filed a lawsuit against former campaign workers Misha Houser and Courtney Rychel for defamation.Â The Liberal OC was barranged with complaints, attacks and challenges to report updates to the case from pro-Hoa Van Tran supporters and Reynoso’s friends.Â The gavel has been banged and a decision has been rendered.Â
Reynoso claimed in his suit that Houser and Rychel had made maliciously false statements to the press which defamed his character. Houser countered in an anti-SLAPP motioin that Reynoso’s complaint was baseless and amounted to a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP).
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At a hearing on September 4, 2008, Judge Franz Miller ruled in favor of Houser and Rychel. The case brought by Reynoso was dismissed and the defendants Houser ane Rychel were awarded legal costs of $3,640 and Do Phu’s Law Firm was issued sanctions which will be handed over to the State Bar for further action with penalties potentially reaching tens of thousands of dollars.
Judge Miller found that the plaintiff (Reynoso) could not establish the probability of prevailing regarding his claim of actual malice at the requisite clear and convincing evidence level.
Well that was Edgardo’s day in court and it doesn’t seem to be going too well for “Team Do Phu.” The next round wil be on The Hoa Van Tran campaign’s breach of contract suit. Houser has filed a cross complaint, naming Reynoso as an additional defendant, also raising the complaint from limited civil to unlimited. The first hearing on this case hasn’t been scheduled yet. Tghe best course of actionÂ for Hoa Van Tran and Do Phu will cut their losses, settle,Â and run as fast as they can away from Reynoso.