Hate-mail battle heats up

Published: Sunday | June 3, 2012 Comments 0

Rowe sues Vaz for defamation

United States-based Jamaican attorney David Rowe has fired the latest salvo in the growing battle over the so-called 'hate mail' which have been circulated via the Internet.

Lawyers representing Rowe have filed a suit in the local Supreme Court seeking damages from Western Portland Member of Parliament Daryl Vaz for defamation.

This is a continuation of a battle which started to play out in the courts from April when Vaz filed a suit in Florida alleging that Rowe was the author of at least two email making damning allegations against him and several other prominent Jamaicans.

According to attorneys representing Vaz, their client was defamed through email transmissions sent by Rowe hiding behind pseudonyms.

In an immediate response, lawyers representing Rowe denied that he was the author of the email and urged the Florida court to throw out the case.

"Plaintiff (Vaz) fails to state a cause of action on which relief may be granted, fails to establish subject matter jurisdiction and fails to incorporate or attach to the pleading document(s) upon which action may be brought ... ," stated the motion to dismiss.

Red herring

"Plaintiff's claim of defamation per se is baseless and simply a red herring in an effort to silence the defendant and prevent the defendant's effective commentaries and advocacy," added the motion.

But even as the Florida court deliberates on the motion, Rowe's lawyers have gone to the local Supreme Court seeking their pound of flesh.

In the claim filed on May 25, Rowe's lawyers say Vaz caused items to be published which make disparaging statements about their client.

"The defendant's (Vaz) action of making and causing the said defamatory statement and/or innuendoes to be published ... was done out of malice towards the claimant (Rowe), calculated to cause injury to the claimant's reputation and character by exposing the claimant to hatred, contempt and ridicule."

According to the attorneys, Rowe is adamant that he is not the author of the hate mail and does not know anyone who uses the alleged pseudonym.

Vaz not concerned

Yesterday, a confident Vaz told The Sunday Gleaner that he was sure the lawsuit brought by Rowe will be thrown out by the local court.

"This lawsuit is frivolous and a diversion and distraction from the main court action. It is not worth the paper it was filed on," said Vaz.

"It is only a matter of time before the whole truth will come out," added Vaz as he pointed to a document filed in Florida by Rowe as part of his efforts to get the court to dismiss that case.

In that document, Rowe points to a memo he sent to an agent of the United States Department of Homeland Security, but Vaz argues that it was dated after the hate mail were sent.

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