Grundy County Sheriff Brent Myers and a Tracy City, Tenn.-based television company are the targets of a $250,000 defamation, libel and slander suit filed by two area men Wednesday in Circuit Court.
The suit seeks damages from Myers and MY Productions LLC over comments reportedly made by the sheriff before, during and after county elections in 2010, Grundy County court records state.
Plaintiffs James E. Campbell and Kelly Foutch claim Myers defamed and libeled them by making false comments on GCTV6, a daily TV news program produced locally by MY Productions, during the campaign in response to statements Foutch made as a county mayoral candidate in a July 2010 debate.
The suit seeks $250,000 on a claim of invasion of privacy and seeks unspecified amounts for the claims of libel and slander. The claims relate in part to remarks Myers allegedly made on GCTV6 on July 26, 2010, responding to comments Foutch made during the debate held a few days earlier, and further televised comments Myers made in January 2011. In the debate, Foutch was answering questions from Campbell and others about the sheriff's department, records state.
MY Productions LLC officials could not be reached Friday for comment. Records showed Friday the lawsuit has not yet been delivered to Myers or the television company, and no attorneys are recorded as legal counsel for either defendant, court officials said.
"I took documents to the TV station to prove what I said," Myers said Friday, but reserved further comment until he receives a copy of the suit.
Clancy J. Covert, legal counsel for the plaintiffs, said the suit "is pretty straightforward, and we hope that a jury will provide justice for Mr. Foutch and Mr. Campbell."
According to the suit, Myers allegedly said on the news show that Foutch "had been convicted of possession of cocaine." It also states Myers referred to Campbell being arrested for assault but didn't mention the charge was dismissed.
"Throughout the [July 27] interview, defendant Brent Myers repeatedly referred to the plaintiffs as felons," the suit states. The interview was aired "multiple times per day ... over the next several days leading up to the mayoral election in August 2010."
Foutch lost the race for county mayor to former Chief Deputy Lonnie Cleek and "returned to life as a private citizen," records state.
But in January 2011, the suit states Myers again revisited the "earlier defamatory statements" on GCTV and made further allegations of threats and criminal acts involving the two men.
Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...