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May 18, 2022

Truth is the Defense. Motions to Dismiss Former Mayor’s SLAPP Suit Filed –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On January 18, 2022

POPLAR GROVE, IL. (ECWd) –

After his mayoral election loss last year, Owen Costanza (former Village President of Poplar Grove), RMS Insurance Services, and Flanders Insurance Agency filed a lawsuit naming the current Village President of Poplar Grove, Donald Sattler, and three others including a reporter, as Defendants. Plaintiffs asked for more than $250K in damages.

We uploaded evidence of the truthfulness of their reporting in our article on the lawsuit (here).

A SLAPP suit, or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, “is aimed at preventing citizens from exercising their political rights or punish those who have done soSandholm v Kuecker. They “masquerade as ordinary lawsuits” but are meritless.

This week all defendants filed their Motions to Dismiss (“MTD”) – we encourage you to take the time to read these Motions.

One Motion to Dismiss was a 2-619(a)(9) Motion pursuant to the Citizens Participation Act (“CPA”):

  • From the CPA MTD (here):
    • The only goal of Owen Costanza in this lawsuit is to silence his critics (para 15)
    • Para 16 through 44 describe the lawsuit, parties, and publications
    • Para 48 and beyond provide a response to Costanza’s claims, stating that based on the exhibits provided, Owen Costanza does have a criminal record, has committed multiple crimes, and was terminated from an insurance agency for fraud and misrepresentation (see the exhibits in this MTD)
    • In paragraphs 49(A) through 49(M), they list the allegation, respond to it, and provide an exhibit to show the truthfulness of what they published in relation to Costanza.
    • All of the exhibits are public record, including court records and records obtained from state departments in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois related to his alleged insurance issues.
    • This CPA MTD is asking for dismissal based on the CPA, and payment of defendant’s attorney fees and costs
  • A 2-615 Motion to Dismiss was filed on Counts I, II, and III arguing:
    • plaintiff has not alleged anything that entitle him to relief
  • A 2-615 Motion to Dismiss was filed on Counts V though IX arguing:
    • because the Defendants were disseminating truthful information, regarding former Candidate Owen G. Costanza, a local and State political actor, the actions of the Defendants were both proper and aimed only at OWEN as a political figure.
  • A 2-615 Motion to Dismiss was filed on Counts X though XVII arguing:
    • plaintiff cannot establish that defendant’s statements were false
    • The statements in the Flyer, including that statements that the Plaintiff is a “repeat criminal” and has a “criminal record” were accurate: the Plaintiff plead guilty to filing a false police report, the Plaintiff plead guilty to writing a bad check, the Plaintiff plead guilty to drunk driving

Arguments for these Motions to Dismiss are set for March 25, 2022, at 1:30 p.m., and April 29, 2022, at 11:00 a.m., in Boone County Circuit Courtroom 3.

Should defendants prevail on the CPA dismissal, Costanza would be required to pay their attorney fees.

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2 Comments
  • BooneCountyCares
    Posted at 08:58h, 19 January

    Boone County Citizens really have a swamp on their hands don’t they?!?! This guy is the Republican Precinct Committee Chairman? How embarrassing for that party to have a nut like that up their.

  • Walter
    Posted at 20:33h, 22 January

    This individuals have ruin so many things in Northern Boone County. Capron Rescue, Boone County Food Pantry, Poplar Grove Lions Club, and the Village of Poplar Grove. Be very cautious of any association with this individual. Guarantee it will not end well.

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