Cleveland, Ohio, January 4, 2022 – MINC LAW files Defamation Lawsuit Against the Plain Dealer on Behalf of Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich.
- Suit claims that the Plain Dealer is liable for defamation by falsely claiming that Congressman Kucinich took “a significant amount of money from FirstEnergy Corp.”
- Suit claims that the Plain Dealer intentionally targeted Congressman Kucinich with false allegations to stop his bid to be re-elected as Mayor of Cleveland.
Aaron Minc and Andrew Stebbins of Minc Law, have filed a libel and slander suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, on behalf of former Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich against the Plain Dealer, the company that owns Cleveland.com, Advance Ohio, LLC, Managing Editor Chris Quinn, and reporters John Caniglia and Seth Richardson (the “Defendants”).
A copy of the lawsuit’s complaint can be found here.
Dennis Kucinich is a former 16-year member of the U.S. Congress, Ohio State Senator, Clerk of the Cleveland Municipal Court, Mayor of the City of Cleveland, and member of Cleveland City Council.
The suit provides that during his time as Cleveland’s Mayor, Congressman Kucinich saved the city’s municipal power system from a takeover by the utility monopoly Cleveland Electric Illuminating Company (now FirstEnergy Corp.), saving the city hundreds of millions of dollars in the decades that followed. The courage and foresight of his actions have been recognized multiple times over the years by the Cleveland City Council and are central to his reputation and legacy as a public figure.
Last year, Congressman Kucinich attempted to run again to be the Mayor of Cleveland. According to the lawsuit, the Defendants “did not want [Congressman Kucinich] to run for or become the Mayor of Cleveland again. So, Defendants tried to stop Plaintiff from successfully running by targeting and defaming [his] reputation.”
As evidence, the lawsuit provides that the Defendants published articles and a podcast that falsely claimed that Congressman Kucinich was running for Mayor with the financial backing of FirstEnergy Corp. and that he took “a significant amount of money” from the utility, which was (and still is) embroiled in the largest alleged bribery scandal in Ohio’s history. The lawsuit states that Defendants never bothered asking Kucinich if he took money from FirstEnergy when interviewing him, and that their claims were false and defamatory and that they made the allegations intentionally, with knowledge of their falsity.
The lawsuit also points to as evidence the fact that in 2021, the Plain Dealer published multiple articles passionately advocating for the public to vote for any other candidate in the Mayoral race other than Congressman Kucinich, and that they also published an article with a headline calling on the public to “target his reputation” as the most “narrow and clear path” to successfully stop Congressman Kucinich from becoming the city’s mayor again.
The lawsuit seeks damages for reputational harm and other damages to Congressman Kucinich resulting from the false allegations.
“This lawsuit is about a news organization pursuing a political agenda to use any means at their disposal to stop Congressman Dennis Kucinich from being elected Mayor of Cleveland. Congressman Dennis Kucinich had nothing to do with the alleged bribery scandal involving FirstEnergy Corp. Neither he nor his campaign consorted with or took any financial contributions from the utility.
Unfortunately, it is evident that the Plain Dealer, its reporters, and Editor simply could not stomach the idea of seeing Congressman Kucinich re-elected Mayor, so they maliciously targeted and defamed Congressman Kucinich’s reputation and legacy in the absolute worst way that they could come up with.
This malicious and capricious vandalism of the First Amendment cannot be left to stand. Congressman Kucinich has had an unblemished public record for over 50 years serving his community honorably in many capacities. He did not deserve this assault on his reputation and legacy.
No news or media organization, no matter how powerful, should be able, for its own political ends, to shred an honest and honorable man’s reputation to pieces without consequences.”