Tag Archive for Defamation

Press Release: Virginia Supreme Court rejects trooper’s appeal

Virginia Supreme Court rejects trooper’s appeal, ending her defamation claim

A Virginia State Trooper has lost her appeal of a lawsuit in which she accused a former Mechanicsville man of defamation.
The Virginia Supreme Court refused Trooper Melanie McKenney’s petition for appeal in her $1.35 million lawsuit against Nathan Cox, ending a protracted legal dispute.
At the heart of the case was the right of citizens to video traffic stops and police interaction for publication on social media.

Cox, 37, an Army veteran who served in Iraq during the Iraq War, has operated a law enforcement watchdog website, Virginia Cop Block. McKenney pulled him over during a traffic stop in 2012. He was subsequently charged for not displaying a license plate on the front of his vehicle and another non-moving vehicle violation.

During the course of the traffic stop, Cox used his cell phone to video the interaction with McKenney, and she attempted to grab it and take it away from him.
Cox, who now lives in Brevard County, Florida, later posted a video on the Internet of the traffic stop with his comments. McKenney filed a lawsuit against Cox in Hanover County alleging his remarks constituted defamation. The original case, claiming $5,000 in damages was dismissed, but McKenney filed a second similar lawsuit seeking $1.35 million in damages.

All of McKenney’s claims eventually were dismissed by the trial court, but she appealed.
The Virginia Supreme Court rejected her appeal Jan. 23, saying in its ruling there was “no reversible error.”

“Accordingly, the Court refuses the petition for appeal,” the high court ruled.
“Nathan Cox’s nightmare is finally over,” said Thomas Roberts, a Richmond attorney whose law firm defended Cox based on legal procedure and the First Amendment right to free speech.

McKenney’s last claim at the trial court was based on a statement Cox made when he was invited to speak to a group of University of Richmond law students in 2015. He told the students that the trooper “pretty much assaulted me.”

Attorneys for Cox opposed McKenney’s appeal, arguing it had no basis. Her concession that she “frisk[ed] him a little bit and things like that” was sufficient factual ground to legitimize Cox’s opinion that McKenney “pretty much assaulted” him, they argued, and the trial court dismissed her claim.

Freedom Works Foundation helped Cox pay some of his legal fees, and Roberts has established a website to raise more funds. You can find the legal fund HERE. (www.gofundme.com/constitutional-liberties-matter).

Virginia State Troopers take a pledge to obey the laws of the United States and Virginia, and to defend the constitutions of both, Roberts noted on the website. “Unless somebody holds government servants faithful to the pledge, it is meaningless and your liberties are at risk,” he wrote.

“Nathan Cox has shouldered the burden of protecting your rights…He has stood in the breach, he has done his part. Will you do yours?”
— END —

Guest Post: Attorney Tom Roberts “Constitutional Liberties Matter!”

“Constitutional Liberties Matter!

I didn’t think a police officer would silence criticism using a lawsuit – but that didn’t seem to stop one from filing a $1.35 Million lawsuit. If not for a Virginia civil rights law firm standing up and protecting the liberties guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, the suit would have silenced one citizen’s criticism, chilled the speech and rights of others and made all our lives more dangerous.

Nathan Cox, an Army veteran of the Iraq War and law enforcement accountability advocate, attempted to exercise his First Amendment right to video tape a simple traffic-stop. He was pulled over and then charged for not displaying a license plate on the front of his vehicle in addition to another non-moving vehicle violation.

What followed rises to the level of absurd.  The Virginia State Trooper did not want to be in the news or subject to public scrutiny.  After Nathan Cox posted video of the stop on the internet with comments, the trooper filed a lawsuit against him for defamation.  But she didn’t even show up for court, so the case was dismissed.  The harassment from the Trooper didn’t stop there. She appealed the dismissal and then dropped the action— only to file another suit in the Circuit Court, and instead of suing for $5,000 as she did the first time, she sued for $1.35 Million. This was an almost 27,000% increase in alleged damages.

Nathan Cox, without any ability to pay for a defense, asked the Virginia civil rights law firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. to defend him and the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.  This is the same law firm that recently won in the United States 4th Circuit Court of Appeals the case protecting police officers’ rights to criticize policies of police departments on Facebook which they believed endangered officers’ and citizens’ safety–Liverman v. City of Petersburg.  This is the third time that the law firm has successfully defended Nathan Cox’s 1st Amendment rights.

In evidence obtained by Nathan through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Trooper’s own equipment recorded her admitting that she “didn’t want to be on YouTube or whatever.” This belied her claims in her lawsuit that she thought Nathan’s recording cell phone was a gun—it was obvious Nathan Cox was video-recording the interaction with his cell phone.  The law firm defended Nathan on grounds the Trooper’s suit was procedurally deficient and the statements were not defamatory and were protected speech under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution.

After hours and hours of legal work, multiple motions, discovery and multiple court hearings the court rejected all the Trooper’s claims against Nathan Cox and dismissed the lawsuit.  The case is McKenney v. Cox, in Hanover County Circuit Court, Virginia.

Nathan Cox now lives in Brevard County Florida with his newlywed wife.  He is doing his best to pay for the legal fees from his job providing local pet care services.

Freedom Works Foundation has created this Go Fund Me page to give this newlywed a chance to start his new life with his beautiful wife without the staggering weight of the legal bill over his head and to give you a chance to stand with Nathan to defend liberty.

A simple act can help secure freedom, protect free speech guaranteed under the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution – and would be an amazing gift to these newlyweds.

Any funds received in excess of the legal bill will be used by Freedom Works Foundation, a Virginia non-profit organization, to defend liberties in similar cases, liberties for which our brave men and women have given so much to protect–liberties officers are sworn to protect!  Your gift will be used to fight on the front lines the battle to defend liberty from enemies within who would destroy liberties like Free Speech guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

Thank you for being willing to touch a life, to stand with Nathan Cox and Freedom Works Foundation, to make a difference, to give freedom a chance, to make Freedom Work!

$1.35M Defamation Lawsuit Against VA Cop Block Founder: Final Outcome

For those who’ve been following the Civil Lawsuit Saga that I have been dealing with, in which Virginia State Trooper Melanie McKenney filed a defamation suit against me which all transpired from a traffic stop she initiated back in 2012 – I have your most recent update!

September 8th, of this 2016, my attorney Jonathan Arthur, an associate over at Thomas Roberts & Associates was in court to deal with the one final claim against me. I will take a moment to remind you that the last time we were in court over this ordeal, was on November 6th, 2015. You can find the filed complaint against me, the pleadings my attorney responded with AND the most recent opinion the Judge issued after that November 6th court date, here. I digress.

The results are in from the September 8th 2016 hearing!

Please check out Thomas Roberts‘ excellent write up regarding the outcome of the case here. Mr. Roberts is a founder and the principal member of the firm of Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend Jonathan Arthur or anyone else at the firm for legal matters and most especially civil rights/ Constitutional situations!

I am in great need of donations for my legal defense. Please consider making a donation here. If you prefer your donations to be in the form of Bitcoin, send a message to the VA Cop Block Facebook Page letting us know.

For anyone interested in reading some other articles written about this situation, Check out the Fox News Article, DailyMail Article, Photography is Not a Crime ArticleRichmond’s NBC12 Article.