Judge throws out Mount Pleasant defamation lawsuit

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A defamation lawsuit filed by the Mount Pleasant village attorney against a critic went before a judge Tuesday. 

Kelly Gallaher asked to have the lawsuit against her thrown out. The judge threw out the lawsuit Tuesday afternoon, finding that while statements Gallaher made were wrong, they were not defamatory.

Gallaher is a leader of a group of activists called A Better Mount Pleasant. They are very active on social media.

Earlier this year, village attorney Chris Smith was quoted in a newspaper article about discussing extending trustee terms in public meetings. Gallaher went on social media and said that quote was false, or a lie, based on her research. 

Attorney Smith took issue, asked for a correction and for Gallaher to take down the post, which she did. But Smith went on to file a lawsuit.

In making his decision to dismiss, the judge noted that part of Gallaher's research was based on what Smith told her over email.

"We're in the unique position here where an individual accused of defamation did the research on the comment with the same person that made it, and that person didn't take the time to clarify it for the individual doing the legwork," said Hon. Jon E. Fredrickson, Racine County Circuit Court. 

Last month, Gallaher said her group and village leadership have a strained relationship over criticism of the Foxconn project. She characterized this lawsuit as one meant to silence a member of the public. 

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