By Nathan Baker
The attorney representing Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey is urging a judge to deny county Planning Director Chris Schuettler’s request to re-hear his defamation of character lawsuit, claiming there is no reason Schuettler should not have known about an April 8 hearing from which he and his attorney were absent.
Greeneville attorney Jeffery Ward said last week that all court papers, including the notice of the scheduled hearing on the motion to dismiss he filed on Humphrey’s behalf, have always been sent to Schuettler’s Peters Hollow Road address with no problems.
When neither Schuettler nor his attorney appeared in court for the hearing, Judge Thomas Seeley dismissed the case, ruling that the planning director failed to provide the court with any specific libelous or slanderous statements made by the mayor against him or his wife, who was also named as a plaintiff in the suit.
In a May 7 motion to hold another hearing, Schuettler claimed he never received a notice of the first hearing and had no communication with the mayor or his attorney until after the dismissal.
“I don’t know what happened or why he didn’t get it,” Ward said. “The first time I heard anything about it was after the dismissal was entered.”
He said usually in civil cases, court documents and notices are served by U.S. mail to an address specified by each party.
“Unless the mail is returned to us, the assumption is they got it,” Ward said.
Ward filed a written response on May 24 asking Seeley to deny Schuettler’s request to hear the case again.
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- Judge dismisses planning director’s lawsuit against county
- Judge to consider suit against county mayor in planning director’s case
- Judge dismisses planning director’s lawsuit except for defamation claim
- Schuettler plans to appeal suit’s dismissal