CINCINNATI (TDB) -- He goes by the sobriquet Charles Foster Kane, and his Whistleblower Newswire is notorious for delivering a daily melange of gossip, bull, ranting, race-baiting and homophobic insults. Often, truly newsworthy tidbits get sprinkled in between it all. Now Schifrin seems to have avoided the mailman, who returned a certified mail copy of a libel lawsuit to the courthouse in Cincinnati unserved. Court records show the case, A1007974, went out on Aug. 31 and was returned undelivered on Sept. 8. The reason: There was no such number. Either the Post Office couldn't find the house in Anderson Township or the address was wrong.
Kentucky lawyer Eric Deters, who claims Schifrin libeled him earlier this year, sent out another letter by regular mail on Sept. 21 with the goal of trying to serve the Whistleblower publisher. At the moment, Schifrin has not filed an answer to the civil case -- which suggests he still hasn't been properly served. Judge Bob Winkler of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas has set a Nov. 15 case management conference, so we'll find out more by then. Deters wants monetary damages and a preliminary injunction that would prohibit Schifrin from making any comments -- flattering or unflattering -- about the Kenton County lawyer. Here's how Deters described the item that got under his skin:
"On or about August 13, 2010, Defendant posted and published on the Whistleblower, with malicious intent, an article under the title 'Bluegrass Betrothals' which claimed that Plaintiff had given his former client and current employee, Nicole Howell, a 'promise ring' while Plaintiff's 'impending divorce isn't even filed, much less final.' All of his is completely false."
To obtain the preliminary injunction, Deters would have to show the public would not be harmed by censoring the Whistleblower. But clearly there would be harm -- numerous Cincinnatians read it daily. They ask to have it wired into their e-mail accounts. The Daily Bellwether reads it, often winces and frequently is upset by the content. Yet The Daily Bellwether would be harmed because there is information in The Whistleblower that is useful -- or can turn up useful material. The information highway is not without its bumps and dangerous curves. Censoring Schifrin with an injunction that bars him from publishing any material he damn well pleases would definitely harm the public. If he has to write a check for defaming Deters -- provided that malice is proven -- that's another matter altogether. He may have to pay after a day in court -- provided he can be served with the lawsuit. Right now, it looks like Charles Foster Kane really should be called "Slipper Schifrin."