Selectman Doreen Goodrich has filed a defamation lawsuit over a post made on the former Telegram.com Auburn message board.
Suit was originally filed on May 5, 2014, when Goodrich filed a “John Doe Lawsuit” against the author of an anonymous post on the Telegram web site. Lawyers for Goodrich requested a court subpoena for records pertaining to the identity of the author of the post in question.
On August 29, 2014, the original complaint was amended after the Telegram responded to the subpoena and identified the poster as former selectman Nicholas V. Hammond. The case is now recorded in court records as “1485CV00823 Goodrich, Doreen vs. Hammond, Nicholas et al.”
In a press release issued by Goodrich in late May of 2015, she wrote, “According to court documents, Hammond posted a false, defamatory and malicious statement accusing current Selectwoman Doreen M. Goodrich of making disparaging phone calls regarding selectmen candidates in the 2014 local election. Shortly after the posting, Goodrich was approached by several longtime friends and colleagues questioning her ethics.”
Goodrich stated, “People tend to attack public figures and I have been subject to anonymous attacks regarding my votes, my physical appearance, my family and even the way I speak. I understand those things come with being a public figure, however, when people I have known for years start to question my integrity and accuse me of doing something unethical that goes against the oath I took as a public servant, that is where I draw the line.”
Reached for comment, Hammond said in a written statement that the strategy of filing frivolous criminal & civil complaints, then going to the press intended to embarrass political opponents is something Ms. Goodrich and her political allies have done for several years now.
“I’m disappointed Ms. Goodrich chose to continue this strategy by again filing a complaint and following it up with a press release. Ms Goodrich has been involved in politics for decades; she knows the game and plays it well. It’s just par for the course in Auburn politics” wrote Hammond.
In response to the accusations made in the suit, Hammond writes, “This is not a defamation case, but a free speech versus political persecution case. While I can’t comment on the specifics, there is no doubt this is politically motivated. I intend to prevail with a primary defense of the U.S Constitution, the 1st amendment and the most protected speech of all, political free speech.”
Attorney John T Martin told Auburn Mass Daily, “Doreen Goodrich has a tremendous respect for political adversaries and those with different opinions, but this goes beyond the rough and tumble world of politics. To intentionally malign someone with lies and unethical actions is unacceptable.”
After the subpoena of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette identified the anonymous author as Nicholas V. Hammond, Goodrich stated that she was surprised and disappointed the post was from a person with whom she had served. “While we did not always see eye to eye on policy and issues, we had a courteous professional relationship.”
Hammond seemed to echo a similar sentiment in his statement, as he continued, “If at any time Ms. Goodrich would like to have an open and frank discussion with or without lawyers to resolve this matter and work to improve political landscape in Auburn, I am happy to do so. “