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September 26, 2022

Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On June 16, 2015

Orland Park, IL. (ECWd) –

Yesterday, on Monday 6/15/15, writer and community activist Megan Fox sued Orland Park Library’s Public Information Coordinator, Bridget Bittman, for defamation. This includes defamation per se, defamation per quod, and false light involved in Bittman allegedly telling various reporters lies about Fox that were then published in assorted local and national media outlets since October 2013.

Fox’s defamation suit argues that Bittman told these lies in an effort to discredit, intimidate, and scare away Fox as a vocal and outspoken critic of the Orland Park Library’s disgraceful history of allowing child porn to be accessed in the library and for not calling police when various sex crimes occurred in that building. You can read our past coverage of this scandal here: [PAST ARTICLES]

In October 2014, Bittman filed what we believe to be a SLAPP (strategic litigation against public participation) suit against Fox and her writing partner Kevin DuJan for their criticism of the Orland Park Library Board and its employees, whom Fox & DuJan criticized for not responding properly to child porn being accessed in the library and other sickening incidents recorded in the library’s own internal documents. Fox & DuJan also uncovered wasteful spending by the Library Board, including lavish meals for board members and purchases from Noral Diamond Jewelers that served no public benefit (but cost taxpayers big bucks).

Bittman was urged to file the SLAPP lawsuit by Diane Jennings, an OPPL trustee who gave a speech at the Board’s August 2014 meeting that instructed Bittman to file a lawsuit against Fox and DuJan. T

Also named in Bittman’s SLAPP suit was Dan Kleinman, the nation’s leading expert on dangers to children in public libraries, who wrote extensively about the disgusting behavior of OPPL employees in not responding properly to serious crimes such as child porn being accessed on public computers in their facility. Kleinman has been a decade-long critic of the American Library Association, which is a George Soros-funded lobbying group based in Chicago that Kleinman argues is largely responsible for the disturbing pattern of library employees not doing the right thing when children are endangered in public libraries or when illegal content is accessed on library computers or WiFi networks. The ALA worked closely with Bridget Bittman on a “crisis management strategy” aimed at Fox, DuJan, and Kleinman that culminated in Bittman’s SLAPP lawsuit. We have covered the long-running pattern of attacks on Fox, DuJan, and Kleinman that Orland Park Library board members and staff have engaged in to silence these whistle blowing critics and attended OPPL board meetings to address this board in person ourselves. To this day, this board continues to lash out at its critics and refuses to admit to its wrongdoings. That is a sadly all-too-familiar story in Illinois.

Fox’s defamation lawsuit against Bittman can be found here, as a counterclaim to Bittman’s own SLAPP suit: [document]

Fox & DuJan’s Affirmative Defenses to Bittman’s meritless SLAPP suit can be found here: [document]

The full PDF of Fox & DuJan’s filing can be found here, in the matter of Case: 1:14-cv-08191 Document #: 76 (Filed: 06/15/15): [document]

One hallmark of a SLAPP lawsuit is that a filer like Bittman does not seem to intend to win any of her claims or even continue the lawsuit through fact-finding and discovery. Instead, a SLAPP lawsuit is filed vexatiously against critics of a public body, such as activists and writers like Fox & DuJan, to have a chilling effect on their activism. SLAPP suits are also meant to scare away anyone else in the community who might have considered becoming involved in the issue at hand, but are then terrified of speaking out because they do not want to be sued the way that Fox & DuJan were sued. SLAPP suits cost a fortune to defend against and require effort and energy to be diverted from activism to fighting the lawsuit. This is why public employees file SLAPP suits, which are almost always disguised as defamation suits. The goal in SLAPP suits for the filer is not to win the lawsuit, but instead just to drain the money and energy of the public body’s critics so that they go away and the public body can then go back to doing whatever terrible things it was doing before the critics and whistleblowers started exposing the public body’s wrongdoing.

In the matter at hand, Fox & DuJan used Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests to uncover evidence that child pornography had been accessed in the Orland Park Public Library and that Library Director Mary Weimar made the decision not to call the police. Fox’s lawsuit alleges that Bittman deliberately lied to the news media about Fox in an effort to discredit her as the library’s critic (in hopes that Fox would be frightened away). When whistleblowers like Fox & DuJan discover wrongdoing committed by public bodies, and are then hit with SLAPP lawsuits over their whistle-blowing, it can have a disastrous impact on their careers and livelihoods. Worse, others in the community become too frightened to participate in criticism of government bodies because they are afraid of being sued like Fox & DuJan were sued in Orland Park.

Fox alleges that the lies told by Bittman to the news media irreparably damaged Fox’s reputation and have hindered her ability to find paid freelancing work as a writer and journalist. Because of Bittman’s actions, food was taken off the table of Fox’s family and the lawsuit alleges that Bittman’s actions were strategic and deliberate in their effort to discredit and harm Fox.

Bridget Bittman was a featured speaker at a December 2013 “crisis communications workshop” hosted at the RAILS Burr Ridge video conference center where various strategies were presented to public library employees in attendance for how they could use the media as a weapon against critics of public bodies to scare them away. Library employees know that reporters have a natural inclination to believe what library employees say, because most people have a natural wellspring of good will for public libraries based on the good memories most of us have of our local library growing up. The crisis communications workshop taught library employees to exploit that trust and use it to discredit library critics. Another tactic discussed was filing a defamation lawsuit against critics (such as Bittman’s SLAPP suit). Handwritten notes (click here to read) obtained from attendees of the “crisis communications workshop” show that such a defamation lawsuit would cost the targets at least $500,000 to defend against. They also advised on ways to avoid documenting things in order to avoid producing them due to FOIA.

Fox & DuJan’s legal fees will likely be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The people of Orland Park should be gravely concerned that Bridget Bittman will eventually attempt to invoke the library’s indemnification policy (adopted in May 2014, just a few months before Bittman filed her SLAPP suit) to foist the ruinous costs of this litigation onto the public, should the court agree with Fox & DuJan’s Affirmative Defense that Bittman’s lawsuit is indeed a SLAPP suit (where Bittman will be compelled to pay Fox & DuJan’s attorney fees).

We will continue to monitor this case closely, as it has repercussions and ramifications for public bodies all across the state of Illinois and beyond. The wheels of Justice turn slowly but we’re confident that when this cases reaches the fact-finding and discovery phase that the Orland Park Library Board and its employees will at some point be forced under oath to answer all of the questions that these people have refused to answer about their behavior for the last 20 months of this ongoing scandal.

Bittman January-8 joker

Bridgett Bittman @ OPPL

 

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49 Comments
  • ljarratt
    Posted at 10:05h, 16 June

    Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox – http://t.co/qzgqdpzcOh

  • ChampionNewsNet
    Posted at 10:05h, 16 June

    Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox – http://t.co/iqH3jJVnG3

  • LennieJarratt
    Posted at 10:05h, 16 June

    Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox http://t.co/EKT3fQfjoU

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:51h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:52h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:52h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:53h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk #ANTISLAPP

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:54h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk #ANTISLAPP

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:54h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk #ANTISLAPP

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:54h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk #ANTISLAPP

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 11:55h, 16 June

    RT @StoryTimeDigita: [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:55h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk #ANTISLAPP

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 11:56h, 16 June

    MT @StoryTimeDigita: #OrlandPark Library spokesman Bridget Bittman sued for defamation by Megan Fox @MeganFoxWriter http://t.co/bQbupGWSja

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 11:56h, 16 June

    [email protected] Public Library employee sued for defaming mom who complained about child porn in library http://t.co/EkaoSkNhqk

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 11:58h, 16 June

    RT @ECWDogs: Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox http://t.co/ao0z2Vatbv http://t.co/yEKOYXWf2n

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 11:58h, 16 June

    #TeamHarpy RT @ECWDogs: Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox http://t.co/bQbupGWSja http://t.co/vhvRQRBG95

  • StoryTimeDigita
    Posted at 12:00h, 16 June

    Orland Park Library’s Bridget Bittman Sued for Defamation by Megan Fox http://t.co/EkaoSkvG1K via @ECWDogs

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 12:00h, 16 June

    #alaac15 @LibraryJournal @ALALibrary @FCC @US_IMLS MT @ECWDogs: Library PR Sued for Defamation http://t.co/bQbupGWSja http://t.co/vhvRQRBG95

  • Orlando
    Posted at 12:36h, 16 June

    I bet that Bridget Bittman at some point will very much regret filing that SLAPP suit. And she will regret it for the rest of her life. If she has to pay all those legal fees, it could bankrupt her. Why did those attorneys of hers allow her to file a lawsuit they can’t possibly win? There is no turning back now. She has to answer this counterclaim. The irony is that she will have to end up paying a large settlement to Megan and will have to pay all of Megan’s legal fees for this litigation that Bridget herself started.

    • Mitch
      Posted at 23:59h, 16 June

      I’ll take that bet. How much?

      • bookworm
        Posted at 10:29h, 17 June

        Considering that you have been wrong about everything you have posted in comments, you should not ever bet people on anything Mitch. The harsh reality for you to face is that Bridget was wrong to file her SLAPP suit. Her case is without merit. On top of that, she sued these people to silence them because she does not like being criticized. Take a public and draw a public salary and expect criticism. Period.

        • Mitch
          Posted at 14:39h, 17 June

          Nothing I’ve posted is wrong.

          • bookworm
            Posted at 17:05h, 17 June

            Everything you posted has been wrong. You have been cheerleading Bridget’s lawsuit from the beginning and she has lost at every step of the way. You also said the library would prevail in the lawsuits against them, and the library lost and had to payout $55,000. You have a poor track record for accuracy Mitch.

          • Mitch
            Posted at 21:03h, 17 June

            Show me one post of mine that is wrong. You can’t because they don’t exist. You will make up dome excise that you don’t have time to look for them when the reality is none exist.

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 13:17h, 16 June

    GD of former @WhiteSox owner sued for defamation. @MLB @ESPN MT @ECWDogs: Bridget Bittman http://t.co/bQbupGWSja http://t.co/vhvRQRBG95

    • Brian
      Posted at 15:55h, 17 June

      I’d like to know what being the granddaughter of a former White Sox owner implies. When the family sold the team in 1958, they probably paid huge inheritance taxes and teams weren’t as valuable as they are today. How do you know she even inherited anything?

      • bookworm
        Posted at 18:08h, 17 June

        If someone is begging for money on GoFundMe, she should be honest about being the granddaughter of a Comiskey. That’s a factor people donating to her should know about before they make the decision to believe her claims of needing money.

      • SafeLibraries
        Posted at 19:57h, 17 June

        @Brian, it doesn’t “imply” anything. It’s just a fact. A fact relevant to the relevant audience in the tweet.

    • Brian
      Posted at 13:19h, 19 June

      But Megan’s countersuit does not allege homophobia. The countersuit is claims made against Bittman generated from when she made comments to news organizations. She was not making these alledged comments in her role as private individual, she made these comments from the perspective of a public spokesperson. (Simple example, if you get sick from dining out, you don’t sue the cook, you sue the restaurant.) Whether Bittman erred in her comments is an entirely different discussion.

      As far as SLAPP suits go, there’s limited judicial track records and as these types of cases wind through the court system some very interesting rulings are going to come out of them.

      http://blog.davismcgrath.com/2013/03/21/illinois-courts-attempt-to-distinguish-slapp-suits-from-legitimate-defamation-claims/

      [Sorry Jim, I’ve attached another hyperlink, but it is in furtherance of today’s discussion and not intended to mean any offense].

      The jist of the link is here:
      “In furtherance of this policy, the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a suit can be dismissed as a SLAPP only if it is “solely” filed in response to acts in furtherance of a person’s constitutional rights. Where a plaintiff genuinely seeks relief for defamation, the lawsuit is not a SLAPP. Sandholm v. Kuecker, 962 N.E. 2d 418 (Ill. 2012). Despite the seemingly broad statutory language, the court in Sandholm interpreted the CPA not to create a new qualified privilege in defamation cases. “We simply do not believe that….the legislature intended to abolish an individual’s right to seek redress for defamation…whenever the tortious acts are in furtherance of the tortfeasor’s rights of petition, speech, association, or participation in government.””

      Additionally, with the recent Illinois Supreme Court ruling about people hiding behind anonymous internet names and commit defamation, there will be a lot more interesting courtcases ahead.

  • Brian
    Posted at 16:04h, 16 June

    Here’s an interesting example: From Item 53 (Page 9): Fox and DuJan deny that Fox posted the video.

    Eventually Megan may become aware that Kevin isn’t going to be out for her best interest.

    He’s the one posting the items on the “Fans of Megan Fox” facebook page. But Megan may become the person liable if she loses the lawsuit. Or if there is joint liability between Fox and DuJan, DuJan probably has no assets, whereas she has interest in her family home, her savings and other assets.

    Kevin’s recently posted some disparaging comments regarding Bitman on the Fans of Megan Fox facebook pages regarding Bitman drinking a bottle of water at the latest OPPL meeting. Sad and childish though they are, Megan should realize that the continual harassment by Kevin under her name may not look good in the eyes of a jury, if it ever goes to a jury. I’m surprised their prestigious lawyers don’t advise them to cut it out.

    DELETED

    • bookworm
      Posted at 18:43h, 16 June

      Brian, sounds like you are proving the point that this is a SLAPP suit that Bridget has filed. You are saying that Bridget cannot be ridiculed now because Bridget has sued these people. The point of a SLAPP suit is to make people afraid of ridiculing the public official that filed the suit. Bridget should not hold a public job if she does not want to be ridiculed by the public for her behavior. Take a public salary, expect public criticism.

    • SafeLibraries
      Posted at 09:48h, 17 June

      @Brian, your comment says “DELETED” at the end. Would you please explain that? Thank you.

      • jmkraft
        Posted at 11:33h, 17 June

        I deleted the remaining comments and a hotlink.

      • Brian
        Posted at 15:28h, 17 June

        My comment concerned some previous lawsuits Kevin Dujan was involved with and lost.

        I just think it is hilarious that both of them, per their answers, will not admit they are the posters on Fans of Megan Fox facebook page, when they both are. But Kevin’s remarks are generally the most childish and offensive and as a result may not be to Megan’s advantage as it’s her face on the facebook page. What if it’s his authored remarks and the jury finds her more liable than him?

        But I guess if that’s the story they want to put out, eventually they will probably turn on each other.

        • bookworm
          Posted at 17:03h, 17 June

          Brian sure sounds like he has a dog in this hunt. I wonder if he works for Bridget.

          • Brian
            Posted at 14:24h, 18 June

            Nope. Never met her, havent been to Orland Park in years. And if you have ever read Kevin’s Hillbuzz blog, you can see his temperment. I’ve been following him for years.

        • SafeLibraries
          Posted at 17:07h, 17 June

          @Brian, you keep pushing that “they will turn on each other” ridiculousness. I smell desperation on your behalf. You make things up then claim they will fight each other as a result of what you made up.

          The Bittman case is going down the drain and being seen more and more for what it is, namely, an ALA-trained, intentional use of the courts to drain the resources by $500,000 of any whistleblower who outs ALA’s pro-child p0rn policy for public libraries nationwide as applied locally, as in OPPL.

          If anyone is going to be fighting each other, it would be Bridget Bittman and OPPL/ALA as Bittman is being used as the person to file this SLAPP suit and will suffer the consequences.

          Oh yes, OPPL indemnified her. So Orland Park taxpayers will suffer the consequences. So maybe that indemnification is what will keep Bridget Bittman from fighting OPPL/ALA. It’s amazing what money can do, especially when it’s the taxpayers.

          • jmkraft
            Posted at 17:13h, 17 June

            I do not believe the indemnification will work. They cannot make a policy that violates state law.

          • bookworm
            Posted at 17:59h, 17 June

            jmkraft said that “they cannot make a policy that violates state law” but this is the Orland library we are talking about. They violate state law all the time. They had to payout $55,000 in March for violating state law and being sued for FOIA and Open Meetings violations. Why do you think they would not violate state law with an improper indemnification?

          • bookworm
            Posted at 18:05h, 17 June

            Bridget’s lawsuit is clearly an abuse of process. She was also clearly told to do this by the library board. This has always been about trying to frighten the library’s critics into no longer writing about this library’s bad deeds and wickedness. She also wanted to scare them into not coming to board meetings anymore. That is clearly what her goal is with this SLAPP suit.

          • Brian
            Posted at 14:15h, 18 June

            No, I partially disagree with you on indemnificaton. Her suit against Megan/DuJuan is brought personnally and would not be covered by the library’s policy.

            However, Megan’s countersuit may be covered by the OPPL policy because Bitman is an employee and she was acting within her role as the library’s spokesperson. Most businesses/institutions carry this kind of insurance and cover spokespersons. I though you were a lawyer.

          • SafeLibraries
            Posted at 22:30h, 18 June

            @Brain said, “Bitman is an employee and she was acting within her role as the library’s spokesperson.” I do not know the law here. That said, I doubt an employee who did what she did and said what she said was acting within her role as the library’s spokesman. I would like to think she was speaking and acting in a fashion that violates library behavior or exceeded her role, else the problem is way worse. True, an elected official who’s homophobic remains in office without even a single person saying boo, so who knows.

          • Brian
            Posted at 12:46h, 19 June

            Well, I’ve looked at Megan’s Fan page on facebook, and if Kevin controls that page, he allows people to make some pretty vile comments regarding Megan. Of course he could block these commentators, but he doesn’t. One has to wonder why? Does he have her best interests at heart, or is he enjoying watching her be vilified for postings that he has authored.

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 16:17h, 16 June

    I predict #library media @AmLibraries + @LibraryJournal won’t report: MT @ECWDogs: Defamation http://t.co/bQbupGWSja http://t.co/vhvRQRBG95

  • Rose
    Posted at 00:22h, 17 June

    Hey Megan, Dan, and whoever else you have on your band of yahoos, we get you know how to use twitter,

  • SafeLibraries
    Posted at 11:14h, 17 June

    It turns out at the training ALA gave where Bridget Bittman behaved in a manner that when I reported on John Kraft reporting on it I was sued for defamation, someone provided training on how to use the courts to file suits for defamation since that can cost whistleblowers $500,000 to defend, effectively silencing them and everyone single other person who ever dared to oppose ALA’s pro-childp0rn policies.

    https://www.facebook.com/MeganFoxWriter/photos/a.679510265394195.1073741826.679212808757274/1041615909183627/?type=1

    You see, ALA gets funding from major sources in the millions but whistleblowers have no such funding, so you silence them and send the message that others will be similarly silenced.

    This from the people defending child p0rn as freedom of speech.

    I’m going to do anything it takes to stay in this matter to the end, if only to show that the bullies do not win and people can ask their libraries any questions they wish under the law without having to fear an ALA-trained and funded war on free speech.

  • Paulharry
    Posted at 08:26h, 27 November

    CIPA requires schools and libraries to actualize an innovation insurance arrangement or an Internet channel. This is intended to square minors from getting to sites that are considered to be revolting and unsafe. Sifting ought to be empowered on all Internet-empowered PCs, independent of whether grown-ups or minors use them. For E-rate limits purposes, sifting can be handicapped to help grown-ups who wish to direct “true blue research” and for other legal purposes. Learn more on https://nuedusec.com/cipa-compliance-checklist.php

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