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Monday, April 23, 2012

Federal court: Gusman files for extension in SPLC case; "Mencken" moves for dismissal of Heebe defamation suit

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 3:09 PM

A few quick follow-ups on two federal cases we've been watching:

Sheriff Marlin Gusman and his co-defendants in a class-action prisoners' rights lawsuit today filed for a 21-day extension in which to respond. The suit was filed on April 2 by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of 10 named defendants. Summonses were issued on April 5, meaning that Gusman and other Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office are due to file a response this week.

U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Sally Shushan, who's been assigned the case, has not ruled on the request for an extension.

Update: Of course, OPSO may have bigger problems than this lawsuit.

Also today, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Sal Perricone, aka "Henry L. Mencken1951," moved to dismiss River Birch Landfill owner Fred Heebe's defamation case. The motion for dismissal claims that the original complaint, which sought an investigation to determine the identity of the commenter, has been rendered moot by Perricone's admission.

Heebe's complaint — which resulted in Perricone's outing as vitriolic commenter "Mencken," then his resignation and possibly the recusal of U.S. Attorney Jim Letten's office from all River Birch related matters — was first filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court. It was removed to federal court at Perricone's request.

Court records show that following a status conference held today, Judge Sarah Vance ordered Heebe's attorneys to file a response to the motion by May 4. Vance will hear arguments on the dismissal on May 23.

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