Federal lawsuit against BOCC withdrawn

Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 09:30 AM.

Allegations against a Port St. Joe citizen, Lois aka Christine or Christy McElroy, were also dismissed.

The filings by Maddox indicate a defamation suit could be filed against McElroy in state court.

“This has been an expensive and painful process,” McElroy said, noting she had spent $11,000 in attorney’s fees. “I’m just one girl with a voice exercising her First Amendment rights.”

McElroy said she would also pursue a public accounting of how much the county and commissioners spent in defending what she called “baseless claims.”

The withdrawal stems from a defense permitted all elected officials: legislative immunity.

Legislative immunity provides free speech immunity for words and actions taken by elected officials during the course of “legislative” debate, provided the words and actions do not constitute criminality.

The immunity prohibits elected officials from being held liable for actions or words during the course of public meetings. Forty-three states have such provisions in law.

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