Hearne: Will KC Firefighter Louie Wright’s Lawsuit Mean The End for Tony’s Kansas City?

I wanted to start this off with something like, "Nobody likes a lawsuit"…

But I’d be lying.  Lawyers like ’em.  People who work at law firms must as well. It’s a paycheck. Judges probably like ’em. People who think they’re gonna win, kick somebody’s ass and / or make a boatload of money undoubtedly like ’em.

So how about this instead? People who get slapped with lawsuits don’t like em. They cost money, take lots of time and sometimes you lose. Meaning more money, more time and more stress.

When Louie Wright, president of Local 42 of the International Association of Fire Fighters, filed a defamation lawsuit against blogger / KC Confidential contributor Tony Botello this week, Botello wasn’t happy.

"I am both ill-equipped and completely unprepared to face a lawsuit of any kind…" he emailed the Pitch."This probably means the end of the blog."

Wait! The end of Tony’s Kansas City? No way! Really?

"Not anytime soon but it’s definitely a possibility and it shows people the real stakes of the game," Botello shot back.

"Well, if they do hit me with the multi-million dollar verdict, I think that makes it pretty much open season on me," he says. "So it wouldn’t be worth it."

While Wright’s legal objective remains to be learned, chances are he’s not suffering from delusions of grandeur and fantasizing about getting his fire fighting mitts on Botello’s Ferrari, his Mission Hills manse or Swiss ski chalet. Or anything else, for that matter.

Because Botello lives in a cheapie basement apartment (but not his mom’s), drives a clunker and has just enough money to keep what passes for the proverbial wolf away from his actual door.

And not much more.

So is there another motive? Some wonder if it isn’t to get Tony to give up his sources, named as John Doe’s in the suit.

Might they be firefighters, union reps, political power brokers, strippers? Don’t ask me, I have no idea.

The fact remains however that lawsuits can be very expensive and very painful. Well into five figures and if it goes to trial six-plus. Tony knows this. And what he appears to be saying is, if he takes a huge hit, chances are he won’t stick around to take another.

Unfortunately, that’s life in the big leagues…

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21 Responses to Hearne: Will KC Firefighter Louie Wright’s Lawsuit Mean The End for Tony’s Kansas City?

  1. Robertoe says:

    Blog biz = low income + high risk
    Watch out Hearne. There’s a lesson here for you. This is a low income, high potential liability business. That’s a shitty combination especially if you have any net worth.

    What a coincidence! I do know of an offshore entity based out of Uruguay who might be interested in buying KCC. This might not be a bad option for this operation. How do you think Louie Wright’s attorneys would have handled their lawsuit if the blog was owned by an undisclosed offshore entity and the blog server was located in some other offshore domicile? Hey U.S. attorneys and court verdicts! FU!

    You best be thinking along these lines!

  2. Johnny S says:

    Ask Courtney, she paid $430,000 for twitter defamation
    Might ask Courtney Love for some advice on this… do a search… Courtney’s Love Lost: Twitter Defamation Suit Settles… .Courtney Love has been in the news again recently, this time as the defendant in a defamation suit. The rocker has just settled for the impressive sum of $430,000. The forum for her defamation? Twitter.

  3. Super Dave says:

    Going to be Interesting
    TKC – The Only Free Speech Zone in Kansas City

    I have to disagree with that statement. There are several free speech blogs based in KC. So that statement would appeaar to just maybe be false. Just maybe Tony talked and wrote his way right into this lawsuit. It’s one thing to have an opinion but another to state facts that just might not be true. As Robertoe says there is a lesson to be learned here. But will anyone pay attention?

  4. Hearne Christopher says:

    Interesting.

    But I think the real key in all this is being very careful when dealing with explosive news stories, knowing exactly how (and how not ) to couch things and triple checking your facts and sources when it comes to making prickly allegations.

  5. Hearne Christopher says:

    I will.

  6. smartman says:

    Jordan Carter for the Defense
    Tony shootin’ his mouth off the way he does is just as dangerous as bangin’ recently divorced chubby blonde Golden Ghetto ho’s and not wrapping the tamale.

    Sooner or later d-bags? Natch!

    Not that it matters to him but Tony stands to lose something more important and valuable than any current or future material possessions; his INTEGRITY. I know, right up there with military intelligence, jumbo shrimp and Superbowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

    Tony’s best defense might just be his immaturity, naivete and stupidity. Any serious analysis of his body of work at TKC will support that claim.

    If this case goes to trial it will have some precedent setting impact on the blogosphere as we know it. His legacy may be case law study in law school.

    I doubt it will make it to trial since the tab could very well hit 6 figures. Unless Tony can rally his troops or find good pro bono counsel it’s probably best for him to waive the white flag and beg for the mercy of the court.

    For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

    Louie Louie oh-oh-oh T’s gotta go yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Final offer T. You let me film you and Darla goin’ at it so I can get 70 minutes of nasty-sweaty-cellulite slapping sex and I’ll fund your defense, but not any punitive damages.

    You could always skip and set up Tony’s Mexico City.

    This is the real deal muchacho. Like the Nazareth song Hair of the Dog says, “Now your messin’ with a sonofabitch”

  7. Craig Glazer says:

    Hearne You Got It Right Only Lawyers Win
    I have had several civil lawsuits. Won them all, lost over 300,000 in legal fees. The court almost never makes the loser pay the winner back for legal fees. A couple cased I had where the one suing had no money and a free lawyer, working on a percentage bases. We won those cases, the lawyer for the other side got nothing, but we had to pay our lawyers. It’s very unfair, cause anyone can sue anyone for anything these days. Rarely does one side really win anythng. The lawyers seem to get most of it if there is anything. The judgements won are than appealed and you wait forever for the money, if there is any. However it is a way, as in this case, for someone to put a stop to
    the other parties actions or call attention to them. So at times suing is sending a messege.

    The best cases are personal injury. The lawyers know all the tricks what state pays, which state doesn’t. Missouri is better than Kansas etc…though those paydays are also way down. Juries don’t like giving out money anymore, most people on them are battling tough times at home with bills and sadly in a way become in a sense ‘player haters’ to the injured party. Feeling ‘hey I have to work for a living why make your life easier.,” even if the party is in the right. Of course if the injured party has lost a leg or something terrible than there of course is sympathy. It’s those old, “oh my back” that doesn’t get much action.

    I think this is a case of someone being pissed off, Nick’s Dad, for being accused of something he feels he didn’t say or do and he wants Tony to feel the heart. To that extent it has already worked. Tony as he admitts has little experience in this area and no funds so yeah he’s shaken. It’s a scary thing to be in court and feel like the ‘bad guy’ nobody wants to be there.

    I know and like Nick and his father, I know Tony and he has always been kind to me and my family so I find it all sad. Even though I have as a writer not agreed with some, explained why I think a ball club stinks, etc….I rarely attack people in my stories. Now in the comment section, well hey ALL BETS ARE OFF…

  8. Markus Aurelius says:

    As a lawyer, I’d like to see a copy of the petition.
    Defamation is not an easy cause of action to prove. Louie Wright also has some real credibility issues. Hearne, tell Tony to upload a copy of the petition so others can read it. If he wants quality pro (or low) bono counsel he needs to let the legal community see what it would be playing with. Unless Tony has just been a reckless fool, he will be able to find a lawyer to champion the cause of free speech.

  9. Robertoe says:

    Hearne should be wearing a bullseye target
    Hearne: “But I think the real key in all this is being very careful when dealing with explosive news stories, knowing exactly how (and how not ) to couch things and triple checking your facts and sources when it comes to making prickly allegations.”

    No Hearne, thats not the key.

    I think Markus is supporting my contention that it doesn’t matter if you are in the right legally. If they want to harass you into submission or shut you up- and they have deep pockets- you can do everything right and you’ll still have legal liabilities (both time and money).

    Glazer’s post supports this as well: “The court almost never makes the loser pay the winner back for legal fees.”

    Hearne, you’ve got a ‘blue blood’ reputation in this town. You are gonna be a target whether you are right or not. You need a preemptive strategy. I’m dead ass serious. I’ve got offshore interests that could totally insulate you. If you’re smart KCC’s corporate headquarters should be a cute little Bavarian-style Andes cabin with a satellite dish internet connection, Malbec and mountain goat entrees overlooking Bariloche. Do you want a piece of our KCC ass? Our server is in Tortola, our ownership operations are in the Argentinian Lake District and our corporate structure is in Uruguay. Come and get us!

    But if you were smart you’d be listening to me on registration parameters and technological evolution, and there’s certainly no sign of this yet!

  10. Markus Aurelius says:

    Hearne, due diligence and a conservative….
    …approach to journalism will avoid most lawsuits but not all of them. All it takes is one irrational, well-healed plaintiff who thinks he/she has been unjustly wronged and you have a lawsuit on your hands. One that you must defend despite the apparent ridiculousness of the claims being asserted. Unless you’re willing to ignore the suit and allow the irrational plaintiff to take a default judgment, you’re unilaterally forced into defending yourself. You may ultimately be proven innocent or right (not Wright) but it will cost you time and money to do so. Better insulating the business from an organizational perspective helps discourage would be plaintiff’s counsel from accepting a ‘you-offended/embarrassed/insulted-me-case-and-I-want-to-make-you-pay’ case from some rich, unhappy plaintiff-in-waiting.

    Just based upon the general public reputation of the plaintiff in this defamation case, it seems unlikely that this defamation case has real legs. However, even faux legs cost money to break. It all comes down to the facts of the case.

  11. Hearne Christopher says:

    I have a couple of opinions on this particular case but I’m hesitant to air them.

  12. The Bird is the Word says:

    Feel for Tony
    I may not exactly have a high opinion of Tony, but I feel for him in this case. Defamation lawsuits are no fun and can drrrraaaaaagggg on with no real progress for months, only bumping up your attorney bill in the process. I had a buddy recently face a defamation case due to an online posting and it was hell watching him go through it, even though the case was clearly frivolous from the start. In short, he purchased a brand name item from a local jeweler which had to be “special ordered,” and the “jeweler” turned around and gave him a knock-off after representing the item as the real deal. Despite the preponderance of evidence my buddy had to prove all of his online statements were true facts, the case dragged on for nearly a year because the plaintiff stopped cooperating as the evidence poured in and the counterclaim was filed. Plaintiff began filing for extensions, making excuses to delay the process even more, etc., etc. What should have been resolved in a week turned into a near year-long ordeal with attorney fees out the whazoo. They eventually settled out of court, which is what I hope Tony will do. You might end up paying, but you can recover and move on much faster. Hire an attorney to help you settle, as it should help minimize any monetary loss. You can always earn back the money you might have to pay, but you’ll never recover the time you lose from seeing this case through, and the stress isn’t worth it. Keep your head up, Tony.

    BTW, I HATE these defamation cases. When did we stop settling things like Men?

  13. what is a man? says:

    Men don’t misrepresent ‘tips’ as facts.

    Men don’t make blatently make up conversations, events and interviews and pass them off as fact.

    Men don’t damage the reputations of other men based on hearsay.

    Men think before they utter, or publish online, allegations that damage the reputation of actual, real men.

    Tony Botello is no man.

    Some people try to paint this as a free speech issue. It’s a stupidity issue. There’s no issue with Tony’s stupidity. It’s been on display for a long time now.

    This case has gigantic, thick, muscular legs, legs that can kick Tony Botello all the way to eastern Tennessee if the wind is right. Louie Wright is performing a civic service here.

  14. Robertoe says:

    welcome Nick!
    its good to see Nick Wright posting here.

  15. Rick says:

    Oh No Tracy?
    I believe Tracy Thomas is down at the courthouse now.

  16. The Bird is the Word says:

    To: what is a man?
    Men also attempt to resolve conflicts amongst themselves before resorting to courtroom antics.

    “Tony Botello is no man.” Isn’t that defamation?

  17. smartman says:

    @what is a man
    I agree. I have no particular love or hate for either Tony or Louie. In my opinion they’ve both done considerable damage in KC in their own ways.

    I think Tony would argue that yelling FIRE in a crowded theater is free speech.

    I’ve discussed this case with a friend who is an attorney and practices this type of tort law.

    Based only on what he has read about the case at The Pitch, Star,TKC and several other sites; Tony accused Louie of skimming/stealing United Way money or taking a kickback from the United Way.

    Tony has been no fan of Louie Wright for some time. His malice towards Louie, even today, is on wide open display.

    Tony needs to prove that Louie skimmed, stole or received kickbacks . Nothing else about Louie’s past, checkered or not, will be relevant in court.

    Tony seems to think that his awesome tipsters will bring forth all sorts of other diabolical info about Louie. Maybe they will but it won’t be admissable in this particular case. He thinks Louie’s whole world will be opened up to him in discovery. It won’t be.

    Anything can happen. Just ask Casey Anthony. Right now, while sentiment may lay strong with Tony, the betting money is on Louie.

  18. Hearne Christopher says:

    I don’t think any of us here know what or wasn’t attempted in the way of resolving this prior to the lawsuit being filed.

    And no, that’s not defamation, FYI. That’s opinion. Thjere’s a difference.

  19. Hearne Christopher says:

    I don’t think so. But I know you are on a crusade to unmask each and every commenter on KCC!

  20. Rick says:

    Excuse me
    Shouldn’t that be there’s a difference not thjere’s a difference. I know another brother that has issues with his there and their. Aren’t u glad u edit him and he doesn’t have to edit u. 🙂 Sorry couldn’t help myself.

  21. Hearne Christopher says:

    Gazuntite!

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