Kristan Hamlin has withdrawn her lawsuit against Democratic Town Committee member Lisa Newman. Hamlin — also a DTC member — was seeking damages, based on alleged defamatory statements.
Hamlin’s lawsuit against 1st selectman hopeful Jonathan Steinberg is still pending.
“I have instructed my counsel to withdraw without prejudice the complaint I brought against Jonathan Steinberg’s former campaign manager and DTC Secretary, Lisa Newman. This means it can be re-brought at any time within 2 years of the defamatory remarks that she has made against me, and which are described, in part, in the complaint.
“My counsel (William P. Lalor) has accommodated my wishes, and issued this statement:
The complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiff sets forth well-pleaded causes of action and is supported by evidence of the defamation that includes written communications and recorded voicemail, along with willing witnesses. My client, in an abundance of good faith, has instructed me to withdraw the operative complaint on a “without prejudice” basis as against defendant Lisa Newman, in order to give settlement discussions an opportunity, and importantly, so that the Wednesday Democratic Town Committee caucus can proceed without the public specter of division that Ms. Hamlin feels has been created by the present DTC leadership.
Hamlin continued: “If Ms. Newman can refrain from personalized attacks against me and others in the community, and is able to stick to the merits of political arguments, grow and benefit from reasoned dissent, and focus on unity instead of calumny, then this offer of peace will be rewarded. If instead she pursues a pattern of ugly, vicious personalized attacks against me and/or other members of our Democratic community, then she will return us to the status quo ante, the lawsuit will be revived, and we will be back to this place, which is disruptive for our democratic community.
“I will be watching her conduct carefully, which she may pursue directly, or through counsel and others, and so should our DTC. If the defamation suit against Ms. Newman needs to be resuscitated because the defendant was unable to embrace an opportunity for peace and instead continued down the path of denigrating and disparaging me either directly or through others who she employs, the DTC will all then understand that she/they are the authors of what ensues. I hope the defendant will advantage herself of this gesture of peace, quit personalized attacks against me and others, and rise to the higher angels of her nature. I hope she will make a mature commitment to peace within our DTC so that other, innocent candidates can win their races for the boards they seek without such distractions.”
Newman’s attorney Josh Koskoff says:
“Facing the prospect of an impending motion to dismiss her case for lack of merit along with the risk of having to pay costs associated with having to defend against her baseless claims, the plaintiff, Kristan Hamlin, withdrew her lawsuit against Lisa Newman today without any settlement on Ms. Newman’s part.
“The plaintiff had sought more than $15,000 of compensatory damages, along with unspecified punitive damages against Ms. Newman for allegedly defaming the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that Ms. Newman made false and defamatory statements concerning her in an executive committee meeting of the Westport Democratic Town Committee on May 10 of this year including statements, for example, that ‘the plaintiff was trying to undermine the DTC’s candidates, that the plaintiff was a liar and a bully who mistreated her Committee members’ and ‘that there were people who did not want to join the DTC because of plaintiff.’
“The plaintiff herself did not attend the meeting, but 2 witnesses who actually were present at the meeting signed affidavits attesting to the fact that Ms. Newman made no such comments and in fact remained mostly silent during the meeting. Ms. Newman was also prepared to argue that even if she did make such statements – which she did not – they would not have been actionable by arguing that the statements were nevertheless true and that the truth of a statement is an absolute defense to a claim of defamation.
“Ms. Newman is pleased to have the distraction and anxiety caused by this unnecessary case out of the way and the time spent in defending herself back, so that she can re-dedicate herself to being an unpaid civil servant as secretary of the Westport DTC, and a member of the RTM, along with the role that matters most to her: raising her 3 young children.”