Springdale defendants in the Duggar girls’ lawsuit have moved the court to dismiss it, claiming they had immunity while doing their job.
A motion filed on behalf of former Springdale Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley and Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate, asks the court to throw the lawsuit out on the grounds that the officials were working within the stipulation of immunity provided to them.
In May this year, Duggar girls, Jill Dillard, Jessa Seewald, Jinger Vuolo, and Joy-Anna Forsyth sued the administration of Springdale, its officials and a media house that published allegations based on documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. Josh Duggar made headlines in May 2015 when In Touch Weekly revealed details of the police investigation that found that a teenage Josh had inappropriately touched his sisters during 2002 and 2003. No charges were filed against the oldest Duggar child as the statute of limitations had run out by the time the investigation was complete.
Besides putting the Duggar family in the line of criticism, the molestation scandal cost them the popular TLC show 19 Kids & Counting. Subsequently, the family came under intense scrutiny which resulted in more damaging reports late in 2015, including Josh’s name being featured in the Ashley Madison leaks. That notwithstanding, TLC put the family back on air with the focus on Jill Dillard and Jessa Seewald’s lives through Counting On.
Josh Duggar reportedly attempted to join the lawsuit but later withdrew from it, though not before inviting criticism for playing the victim card.
Now, Springdale is taking legal recourse to counter Duggars’ claims that documents released by the city and the Washington County of Arkansas exposed the girls’ identities despite a promise of confidentiality made to them.
“In their complaint against the Springdale defendants the plaintiffs use such turns of phrase as ‘contrary to the bounds of human decency’ and ‘basic notions of civility and personal dignity’ and ‘horrible and blatant re-victimization’ in order to advance claims for damages,” a brief of the motion reads, according to Arkansas Online.
“The allegations of fact in the complaint, rather than the hyperbolic turns of phrase, are assumed to be true at this stage, yet a close examination of the alleged facts reveals that individual Springdale defendants acted not outrageously, but well within the protection provided by the doctrine of qualified immunity.”
Days after, the lawsuit was filed in the federal court in Fayetteville, Springdale questioned the motive behind the lawsuit, which in turn elicited a response from the Duggars, who maintained that the lawsuit was about protecting the identities and rights of minors.
The latest motion against the lawsuit is likely to further escalate the tussle as it argues that the Duggars have failed to prove claims of intentional wrongdoing on part of the defendants. The Duggars are seeking unspecified compensation and punitive damages.
[Featured Image by Duggar Family Official/Facebook]