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Monday, November 15, 2010

Whistleblower Publisher Jim Schifrin Has ACLU Sparkplug As Defense Lawyer: Scott Greenwood To Battle Libel Charge

[UPDATE: 11/16 -- The ACLU confirms it is on the case. It calls Schifrin a citizen journalist and will make that argument in court.]
ACLU Rides To Schifrin's Rescue

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Before this week is out, the ACLU itself is likely to enter the case and defend Jim Schifrin against a defamation lawsuit filed in Hamilton County by Kentucky lawyer Eric Deters.   ACLU board member Scott Greenwood -- a constitutional and civil liberties attorney in Cincinnati -- has already signed on as Schifrin's defense lawyer, court records show.  Greenwood listed himself as trial counsel in late October.  Schifrin's formal answer to the lawsuit is due Tuesday, Nov. 16.  Greenwood is high cotton, and the fact that he has come to the aid of Schifrin -- whose daily e-newsletter features gossip, political sniping, press bashing, other assorted peccadilloes, and tidbits of news among all those things and more -- will fashion the dispute into an argument about free speech, a free press and First Amendment rights.  The ACLU and its lawyers have a long history of opposing anything they see as censorship.  Schifrin has plenty of critics in Cincinnati -- but he's also an idiosyncratic voice.  He says things out loud in his newsletter that many Cincinnatians whisper about in private.  Click here to visit Greenwood's website. He helped steer the federal civil rights case that led to reforms in the Cincinnati police department earlier this decade. That litigation helped end the department's longstanding reputation for violence against African American males. Here's a sample of Greenwood's biography:

"Scott Greenwood is a nationally known constitutional rights and civil liberties lawyer. Greenwood has been an outspoken advocate for First Amendment rights and police practices reform, particularly with use of force policies. He has been consistently listed by his colleagues in The Best Lawyers in America for fifteen years, in Ohio Superlawyers, and was named Ohio Lawyer of the Year 2003 by Lawyer’s Weekly. His practice focuses on complex and constitutional litigation in the federal courts. Greenwood lectures widely on constitutional rights, civil liberties, and complex litigation. He has served as general counsel to the national ACLU since 2006, and is the ACLU of Ohio Board of Directors national board representative."

Deters claims Schifrin slimed him in August by publishing an item in the Whistleblower that alleged hanky panky, or something close to hanky panky with a former client.  Here's how Deters' lawsuit  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."


  1. Hard to believe it would take a ACLU hot shot to blow this defamation case out of the water. Since Deters (AKA, "The Bulldog") is a public figure (frequently appearing on the Cunningham show as a substitute host), Deters must prove the alleged falsehood was made with actual malice. It's not enough to prove the issuer was negligent in checking his facts, etc.

  2. Deters is an idiot. I feel confident the claims of the Whistle Blower are true. When you mess around on your first wife with your second wife you're going to mess around on your second wife too.