LAS VEGAS, NEV. (March 5, 2020) – Today, the Nevada Supreme Court handed-down its ruling in the hotly contested matter of Abrams vs. Sanson, [Case No. 73838]. Sanson is victorious! At the time of this writing, Jenny Abrams could not be reached for comment.
“Naturally, I am quite pleased,” stated Steve Sanson, President of Veteran’s in Politics International — in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada! Our Truth Hits! I-Team spoke with Sanson via telephone. “Today is a huge victory for free speech! Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute basically did what it was designed to do — which is to knockout frivolous lawsuits — in the first round — to protect the little guy from unnecessary and costly legal battles — where the guy suing you has no leg to stand on in court — and they’re just trying to burn you up financially.”
It happens all too often. An everyday citizen in good faith speaks-out on issues of public concern. But then some big-shot gets his or her nose out of joint. Rather than address the citizen in the marketplace of ideas, the big-shot decides to throw-down at the local county courthouse. After all, the big-shot has money, power, and lawyers on retainer!–while the everyday citizen generally has no means to fight-off the big-shot’s lawyers.
In such cases, the big-shots have no illusion that their lawsuits are meritorious. The big-shots are just being total slobs — seeking only to economically bludgeon the citizen — as punishment for speaking-out. The slobs figure that, even if the citizen successfully defends the lawsuit, it won’t even matter because the citizen will be economically devastated by the cost of the litigation. Even if the citizen wins, there’s no Ed McMahon “prize” for winning. The citizen is simply left with a pile of legal bills, constricted blood vessels, and a worthless defense verdict to frame and hang on the wall.
This is what happened in the matter of Jennifer Abrams vs. Steven Sanson and Louis C. Schneider, (a tough-as-nails Las Vegas attorney who does family law and criminal law).
Jenny Abrams is the big shot who brought a totally bogus defamation lawsuit against Sanson and Schneider. As today’s High Court ruling shows, Jenny Abrams’ defamation lawsuit is frivolous. It appears to have been calculated only to inflict attorney’s fees and costs upon a good faith citizen — Steven Sanson — as punishment for Sanson having spoken-out on issues of public concern.
Among free speech aficionados, Steve Sanson is a something of hero!–a social justice warrior who weathered the storm of a frivolous defamation lawsuit!–who stands-up for the truth, justice, and the American way!–a proud United States Marine who shapes the course of Nevada free speech laws! “OO-rah!”
And the good news is this –> Nevada’s anti-SLAPP laws allow Sanson to recover attorney’s fees and costs as a result of Abrams’ frivolous lawsuit. Yes, Jenny Abrams could wind-up having to pay a tidy sum of money to Sanson and his lawyers. In addition, Jenny may get stuck having to pay penalties of up to $10,000 — to teach her a lesson for filing frivolous lawsuits.
And this is the beauty of the anti-SLAPP laws, i.e., it’s a way of “teaching a lesson” to the big-shots who try to step on the little guys’ throats — by hitting the big-shots where it counts — in the pocketbook! And this spells epic revenge for the little guys, and further serves, in no small measure, to deter other big-shots who may entertain the foolish idea of attempting to punish others for their “good faith communications in furtherance of the right to free speech regarding a matter of public concern,” as NRS 41.660 contemplates.
Many folks ask: “What is Anti-SLAPP?” First of all, “SLAPP” stands for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. Jenny Abrams’ lawsuit is fairly characterized as a lawsuit that was strategically designed to target Sanson for his public participation — which apparently came in retaliation for Sanson’s opinions on Abrams — i.e., her perceived lack of “openness and transparency” and perceived “obstructions to the judicial process.”
In responding to Abrams’ “SLAPP” lawsuit, Sansons hired power-hitter attorney Maggie McLetchie, Esq., (McLetchie Shell LLC). Ms. McLetchie, who comes from a family of stalwart free-speech advocates, filed an “Anti-SLAPP” motion to dismiss Abrams’ “SLAPP” lawsuit — on the basis that the lawsuit was frivolous. Ms. McLetchie, who was brilliant in oral arguments before the High Court, carefully explained why Sanson’s statements implicate matters of “public concern” and should thus be afforded anti-SLAPP protections.
When it comes to free speech, Ms. McLetchie totally “gets it!” And the Nevada Supreme Court agrees. Once again, Ms. McLetchie’s legal arguments carry the day! Bravo!
In 2018, the Las Vegas Review-Journal dubbed Ms. McLetchie the “First Amendment Champion.” Truer words were never spoken! And today, with yet another landmark victory to her credit, nobody can deny that Ms. McLetchie is the undisputed Champion of the First Amendment and friend to freethinkers everywhere!
It all started when Sanson published a series of articles on VIPI’s website concerning Abrams’ courtroom conduct and practice. Sanson was critical of Abrams. Sanson called her a “lawyer behaving badly.” So, Abrams hired her boyfriend, controversial attorney, Marshall Willick, who sued Sanson for defamation, emotional distress, conspiracy, and so-on. Sanson’s attorneys filed the anti-SLAPP motion asking the court to declare the lawsuit “frivolous” and to dismiss it immediately.
The District Court found that Sanson’s statements did involve issues of public concern. Sanson’s statements related to an attorney’s courtroom performance and the public’s interests in justice. The District Court also found that Sanson’s statements were “opinions” and thus incapable of being false. Abrams had shown no probability of prevailing on her claims, so the District Court granted Sanson’s motion to dismiss.
Dissatisfied with the District Court ruling, Abrams and her attorney, Willick, appealed to Carson City.
In ruling for Sanson, the Nevada Supreme Court analyzed Sanson’s statements. Were his statements of “public concern?” If so, they would be afforded protection. Well, the High Court found that Sanson’s statements criticizing Abrams’s courtroom behavior were indeed matters of “public concern” because the public has an interest in an attorney’s courtroom conduct.
Writing for the majority, J. Stiglich explains: “The public has an interest in an attorney’s courtroom conduct that is not mere curiosity, as it serves as a warning to both potential and current clients looking to hire or retain the lawyer.”
Abrams tried to argue that her courtroom antics were not of “public concern,” but the Supreme Court disagreed. An attorney’s courtroom behavior is “matter of utmost public concern.” The Court held that Sanson’s statements about Abrams came “in direct connection” with issues of public interest for purposes of anti-SLAPP analysis.
Sanson also criticized Abrams’ practice of “sealing cases” from public view. Sanson expressed his perception that Abrams style of practicing law is antithetical to openness and transparency. Again, the Court found that Sanson’s statements came in “direct connection with an issue of public interest.”
Notably, however, the Court did reverse a portion of the District Court’s ruling on Sanson’s statements that came in a private telephone conversation. The Court ruled that telephonic statements are not protected because such statements were made in a private telephone conversation, which is not a “public forum.”
These unprotected telephonic statements potentially expose Sanson to a claim for defamation. But here’s why it’s interesting: Sanson’s telephonic statements were made to a guy named Dave Schoen — an Abrams employee — who also moonlights as one of the chief agitators at Nevada Court Watchers, a Facebook shill group devoted to heckling Sanson and anyone who supports him.
And while Sanson’s telephone statements are not protected by the anti-SLAPP statutes, Abrams still has an uphill battle in her defamation case. On remand to the lower court, to prove defamation, Abrams must show that Sanson’s statements to Schoen were made to a “third party” – which may prove a dicey prospect because Schoen is an employee of the Abrams law firm, i.e., not really a “third party.” The Court also noted that Schoen initiated the call to Sanson, which tends to show lack of intent, a requisite element on defamation claims.
The Nevada Supreme Court gave guidance in interpreting Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statutes. In determining what constitutes “good faith” communications under the statutes, the High Court states that the relevant inquiry must examine the “gist of the story,” not the literal truth of each word or detail used in a statement. Courts must look to the “gist or sting” of the communications as a whole, “rather than parsing individual words in the communications” explains J. Stiglich.
Taken as a whole, the Court soundly rejected Abrams and her bogus lawsuit. The Court held that her additional claims — of emotional distress and conspiracy — lacked even minimal merit, which is just a polite euphemism for “frivolousness.”
To gain a real world perspective, the Truth Hits! I-Team contacted renowned civil rights attorney, T. Matthew Phillips, Esq., who stated: “Las Vegas is world famous — not just for gambling, shopping, fine dining, and nightlife, but for its burgeoning family court corruption.” Phillips decries Las Vegas Family Court. Phillips lamented: “It’s a den of iniquity — where civil rights go to die.”
The Truth Hits! I-Team has come to learn that Las Vegas Family Court is internationally known — with a reputation for having broken all records for wanton, reckless and systematic corruption. Las Vegas judges are known the world over for routinely disregarding evidence, rewarding perjury, and ignoring constitutional rights. Apparently, Las Vegas family court is a full-time concern to folks all around the globe — not just in Vegas!
Committed to excellence in journalism, our Truth Hits! I-Team wanted to get both sides of the story. Our I-Team rode straight into the heart of the enemy camp. We visited Nevada Court Watchers, a shill group on Facebook. Our I-Team chit-chatted with many folks, all of whom portrayed Sanson as a “corrupt individual who interferes with the administration of justice!” Boy howdy! Them sounds like fightin’ words! But wait … there’s more!
Nevada Court Watchers is home of Nevada Court Watchers PAC — a political action committee — which vows to “pursue targeted, highly-funded campaigning against any judicial candidate who (i) seeks a VIPI endorsement; (ii) attends a VIPI event; (iii) gives money to VIPI; or, (iv) appears on a VIPI radio program. Hide your kids! Hide your wife! NCWPAC is on the warpath!
Abrams lackey, Dave Schoen, alleges that Sanson extorts money from family court litigants and that Sanson intimidates judges by calling them on their cell phones regarding pending litigations. Schoen alleges that Sanson does this in order to exercise undue influence over vulnerable and susceptible judges. Dave Schoen, his wife Julie, their kids, and even their dogs, all agree that “Sanson is the living embodiment of corruption.”
Our I-Team spoke with many Nevada Court Watcher devotees, many of whom reside outside the Vegas valley, including, Charlene Villanueva, (Orangevale, Calif.); Linda Parker Harbison, (Roslyn Penn.); Rob Berkman, (Burke Virginia), Carol Christiansen, (Montgomery, Texas); Jayne Bennett, (Liberty, Indiana); Elske Shipp engaged to Alex Ghibaudo, (a regular guest at the shill group, Our Nevada Judges); Beth Cooper from Sydney, Australia; Kristen King, (Chuglak, Alaska); Mindi Brown-Coursey, (Haskell, Oklahoma), Grace Iha, (Bellevue, Kentucky); Issendai Icchantika, (Boston Mass.); Majella Schmalz, (Sheboygan, Wisc.); and yes, another Aussie, Rita Hawkins, from Down Under.
It turns out that Las Vegas Family Court’s unique brand of judicial corruption is so brazen and so notorious that it draws worldwide attention! Who knew? Apparently, Las Vegas Family Court is so burdensome and oppressive to civil rights — that it sends seismic shock waves throughout legal communities of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Barrow, Alaska, and half way round the world in Sydney Australia!
Curiously, the Nevada Court Watchers to whom our I-Team spoke were reluctant to speak “on the record.” Despite the fact that they talk about Las Vegas Family Court all day long, none wished to be quoted “on the record.” The general sentiment was that nobody in the group was willing to mention Samson, for any reason.
Sources close to the investigation revealed that, as a direct result of Sanson’s favorable ruling, nobody at Nevada Court Watchers would be discussing Sanson, as an obvious embarrassment to Willick and Abrams, who many believe are the driving force behind Nevada Court Watchers.
One member of Nevada Court Watchers, who wished to remain anonymous, told our I-Team: “Today, we’re just gonna make fun of McDonald, then we’re gonna humiliate Bahns, and then we’ll heckle Amy Luciano, with our daily routine of exposing them to hatred, shame, contempt, and ridicule. But no Samson today. We’re totally on lock-down with the Samson thing, so like, no comment, ya know?”
The I-Team was unable to reach Marshall Willick for comment.
TRUTH HITS! I-TEAM on behalf of VETERANS in POLITICS, INT’L.
It’s hard watching your kids grow up so fast,
harder still not watching ’em grow up at all.
# S T O P P A R E N T A L A L I E N A T I O N
Produced, and Directed by TMP’s Midnight Minions
in association with Chapter Eleven Productions,
Fly-By-Night Management Services, and
Neurotica Entertainment Group
Copyright 2020 – by T. Matthew Phillips, Esq.
““There is no other way to guard yourself against flattery than by making men understand that telling you the truth will not offend you.”
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli, “Il Principe”