Hamlin Withdraws Lawsuit Against Steinberg

A lawsuit against 1st Selectman candidate Jonathan Steinberg has been withdrawn.

Plaintiff Kristan Hamlin withdrew the complaint yesterday. The day before, she had dropped a lawsuit against Democratic Town Committee secretary Lisa Newman.

The DTC meets tonight to select candidates for selectmen and various town boards, for the November election. Steinberg is expected to be nominated for 1st selectman.

State Representative Jonathan Steinberg

11 responses to “Hamlin Withdraws Lawsuit Against Steinberg

  1. Dear 06880 readers,

    As reported by 06880, I have read Kristan Hamlin’s multi-page lawsuit attacking Jonathan Steinberg and Lisa Newman, as well as her disingenuous offer to be a peacemaker and now her withdrawal of the lawsuit that has upset so many people in both political parties. I find her actions disturbing.

    I have resided in Westport for 50 years and been involved in Westport politics for more than forty of them. I know something about local issues. I love our town. One of its distinguishing characteristics has been that while our citizens might disagree on issues, we, collectively and almost universally, have agreed to quarrel fairly and shake hands when it’s all over. In my view, Ms. Hamlin’s lawsuit was mean-spirited and deviates from our historical norms and drags all of us to an ugly place.

    The defendants in Ms. Hamlin’s lawsuit are Westport citizens, our neighbors, who have volunteered their time and energy to honorably serve our community. We should be grateful for their service. Let me focus on Representative Steinberg because he is the primary target of Ms. Hamlin’s disparagement, although she criticizes other equally well-intended and honorable public servants.

    Jonathan Steinberg served on the RTM for years and became its Deputy Moderator because of his intellect, passion and capacity to do important work and to bring people together. He was subsequently elected as our State Representative in Hartford for six terms because of his competence and his judgement with respect to the matters we care about in Westport. He has received high praise from state officials and representatives from both political parties for his hard work and contributions to good government.

    Ms. Hamlin clearly disagrees with the process that may make Representative Steinberg the Democratic nominee for Westport First Selectman. But rather than gather the necessary support to prevail with her peers, she brought an ugly lawsuit asking the court to publicly scold Representative Steinberg for not doing things the way she wants. I am confident the judge would have dismissed her lawsuit as frivolous, but prevailing in court doesn’t appear to have been her objective. Rather, it was to publicly punish those who disagreed with her.

    I call upon Ms. Hamlin to apologize to those who she has defamed and to acknowledge that our community is blessed to have so many hard working, dedicated public servants of the caliber of Jonathan Steinberg, Lisa Newman, Melissa Kane and others who deserve better than being sued when disagreed with.

    Ken Bernhard
    Former Town Attorney and State Representative

    • Mr. Bernhard– Your incorrect assessment of the defamation case I brought against Mr. Steinberg reminds me of your absurdly incorrect assessment of the DeBorja v. Wilton drowning case I brought for the parents and sister of a little 6-year old who drowned, which you publicly said in the newspapers was ‘meritless’ and would be dismissed. Instead, it went on to BREAK ALL RECORDS for winning in settlement 4.5 times MORE than the HIGHEST drowning verdict in the history of the state of CT. I know, because it was the FIRST and only time I brought a wrongful death case, and I won it. (It was not my usual area of the law, but I ventured into it for the first time, and broke records.) You mocked the merits of that case, too, and you were MORE THAN DEAD WRONG. It BROKE ALL STATE RECORDS.

      You truly have no idea how hideous, and cruel the conduct involved in this case has been to me and others. Unlike you, I am not a recent convert to the party. I bleed blue, and that is the principle reason I withdrew this exceedingly STRONG case. You have no idea what it took for me to bring such a case against a fellow Dem, and how I lost sleep over it before I decided to stick up for myself and other victims. I had numerous attorneys look at the complaint and the documentary evidence before my attorney brought the claim. Unlike you, they had seen the documentary evidence, so ignorance did not blind their ‘legal’ opinions. You have no idea what I had to go through before I finally felt compelled to speak out. Jonathan knew what he was saying about me was untrue. He admitted that to one person. His conduct here has been like a gut punch-wake-up call for me and other Dems.

      Stop politicizing this. We are people who have been seriously pained and injured by the misconduct of a powerful man we thought was a friend and who we had (incorrectly) supported endlessly for 14 yrs. His victims do not deserve this mistreatment on his highway to a higher office.

      My husband responded below to your post. I suggest you apologize to us both –and to all the other victims in this matter — for ‘speaking without knowing all the facts’ and deepening the pain my family has endured in this matter. Now THAT would model the behavior that you lecture others to follow. Try it.

  2. Larry Weisman

    Now that the plaintiff has wisely withdrawn her hastily concocted and I’ll- advised suit against Jonathan Steinberg, it is perhaps time to consider what lessons there are to be learned.

    First and foremost is that the judicial system is not the place to air personal grievances. Unlike social media the law is not a mechanism for expressions of disappointment or personal animus unsupported by a cognizable cause if action and sufficient facts to constitute a prima facie case.

    Secondly, we are reminded yet again of the importance of civil discourse in politics and community affairs, free from innuendo and ad hominem attacks.

    And finally, we should recognize the value in refraining from a rush to judgment and the need to hold our fire while matters take their course and the factual landscape becomes clear.

    To her credit, the plaintiff in this case has done the right thing and is now free to exercise her First Amendment right to criticize the system and those who work within it without resort to unpleasantness.

    One can only hope that no damage has been done, that the suit will not adversely affect Jonathan’s candidacy, and that the race will be run on a level playing field and decided on the basis of merit, competence and experience with due respect for opposing points of view.

    As JFK famously said, “Civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof.”

  3. Dear Mr. Bernhard,

    A woman is bullied and defamed by a man in a position of political power. She defends herself. You ask her to apologize for it. Take a moment to reflect on that. Now for the facts: every single last word in that complaint is true and well-documented, and there was far more viciousness and defamation than even that which was described. Kristan and other constituents have been bullied by Steinberg. In my opinion and the opinion of others who have witnessed his conduct in this matter, his temperament is incompatible with the management and people skills that the First Selectman’s office demands. That role involves hundreds of employees reporting to the First Selectman. Those town employees need to be able to voice reasoned dissent without brutal defamatory retaliation. I have had all three of the people you mention in my home, as we have supported them all. Indeed, all the giving has been one-way: from us to them. And yet their conduct has been brutal, ugly, malicious and unfair. Your comments are borne of ignorance. You should do your homework before you make untutored posts.

  4. Chip Stephens

    I know there is a lawyer joke here somewhere. Any one …. Buhler ????

    • Adam Schwartz

      As the lawyer awoke from surgery, he asked, “Why are all the blinds drawn?” The nurse answered, “There’s a fire across the street, and we didn’t want you to think you had died.”

  5. Chip, This goes beyond all lawyer jokes. It’s one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” moments that have become all too familiar since the beginning of the Nov 2016 election cycle. To be fair to lawyers, many of the most reasonable statements here have been made by members of the profession.

  6. Robert Harrington

    This is NOT Westport. Please stop. I see little peace making here. Can we please focus on local issues and this local election?

    • Bill Strittmatter

      To be fair, character and fitness to lead, in addition to issues, have generally been a large part of the election cycle for a long time and, frankly, are not unimportant, particularly for those in executive positions.

      I have no knowledge on way or the other about Mr. Steinberg. However, if there are issues on that front, it is fair that people understand them and make their decisions accordingly. For many (e.g. blue dog Dems, tea party Reps) positions on the issues will always trump character but I believe we have all recently seen what ignoring character can lead to.

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