CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A candidate for the Ohio House in the March GOP primary is suing two suburban Cincinnati township trustees for defamation because they said he has "anger management" issues. Eric Minamyer, a Naval Reserve captain, is a township trustee himself and ran for Congress in the 2005 special election that sent Jean Schmidt to Washington. Now he hopes to represent the 35th District, which is being vacated by State Rep. Michele Schneider due to term limits. The lawsuit is Case No. A 07 08291 in Hamilton County.
In 2005, Minamyer questioned Democratic Iraq War veteran Paul Hackett's service record when Hackett ran for Congress. The following excerpt from a Bizzyblog post has some of the details about what took place:
[Minamyer] "raised the issue of Paul Hackett’s combat record, which would never have come up without Hackett’s 'serve and fight' TV-ad reference. Minamyer took a lot of heat for asking legitimate questions (as if asking questions about a soldier’s record is a crime, when the soldier involved has positioned his military service as the principal reason why he should be elected)."
Apparently, Minamyer can dish it out. The lawsuit makes it appear that he can't take it. And political insiders now might be wondering how Minamyer helped himself in the House race by filing the defamation lawsuit that seeks punitive damages from Tom Weidman and Cliff W. Bishop, who are trustees in Sycamore Township. Bishop is a former Hamilton County Common Pleas Court bailiff and is a member of the Hamilton County Republican Club board of directors. That post makes him a key insider in the county's GOP establishment. Minamyer said Bishop and Weidman made remarks about his service as a special deputy sheriff, and "intended to do harm to plaintiff financially by depriving him of pay as a special deputy, but also in his profession as an attorney and elected official."
Minamyer says Bishop and Weidman should pay financial damages for his embarrassment, mental anguish and emotional distress.
The trustee, in a response filed to the lawsuit, said they have immunity as elected officials and were not malicious. They said Minamyer is a public figure.
. . ."Plaintiff had no reasonable expectation of privacy and that any statements made by the defendant were true and/or constitutionally protected opinion and/or were part of a public controversy within the context of which the plain was a public figure, thereby barring plaintiff from any recovery against these defendants on all or part of his claims for relief."
So far, there has been no action on the lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. Three judges have stepped aside because they know the parties in the dispute.