Jared Pozner, who lost his 6-year-old son, Noah, in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, has had to deal with attacks from everyone from the hosts of radio shows to the authors of books claiming he’s lying about his son’s death. In addition to the HONR Networking, an advocacy group that puts pressure on social media sites like Facebook to remove false or misleading information about the Sandy Hook shooting, Pozner and several other families of the victims have filed defamation lawsuits against their accusers all over the country.
The largest defamation lawsuit is against Alex Jones, the host, and owner of Infowars, a radio show and website that have allegedly been spreading false information about Sandy Hook and other mass shootings and accused the families of lying about their children’s deaths. That lawsuit is still working its way through the court system, but in the meantime, Pozner recently won a smaller lawsuit against James Fetzer.
Fetzer is the co-author of a book called, “Nobody Died at Sandy Hook: It Was a FEMA Drill to Promote Gun Control”. As the title suggests, the book alleges, not only that there was no mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, but that the school had been vacant at the time of the shooting and that the families of the children who were slaughtered are actors working as part of a government conspiracy designed to take guns away from Americans.
Pozner sued both Fetzer and Mike Palecek, his co-author, for defamation. Palecek had already agreed to settle the case against him for an undisclosed amount, but Fetzer continued to fight the defamation lawsuit all the way to a ruling. Back in June, a Wisconsin judge ruled in Pozner’s favor, but it wasn’t until more recently that the jury awarded Pozner $450,000 in damages as a result of Fetzer’s alleged defamation against him.
Pozner thanked the jury for their decision and for recognizing the pain and terror that he and other victims’ families have had to face, not only as a result of the shooting itself but as a result of the defamation of people like Fetzer and Jones. Since the conspiracy theories of Sandy Hook and other mass shootings have started popping up online and in books like Fezter’s, Pozner and the family members of other victims have had to deal with everything from hate mail to death threats from people who believe sites like Infowars over credible journalists. One woman spent five months in jail after sending Pozner messages saying he was going to die.
In his statement, Pozner added that Fetzer has the right to be wrong, but that Pozner and other family members also have the right to be free from defamation, harassment, and terrorism.
Fetzer ridiculed the judge’s decision and said he plans to appeal.
Dave Gahary of Moon Rock Books, which published Fetzer’s book, apologized to Pozner and agreed to stop selling the book as of June 30th. Gahary said that, after meeting with Pozner in person, he now believes he is telling the truth about losing his son in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Lubin Austermuehle’s defamation and slander lawyers near Glen Ellyn and Addison have more than three decades of experience helping business clients unravel the complexities of Illinois and out-of-state defamation, libel and slander laws. We assist businesses and owners who are the victims of defamatory and slanderous attacks on their businesses and reputations.
You can read the Court’s entire opinion here.
Our DuPage County defamation attorneys defend individuals’ First Amendment and free speech rights to post on Facebook, Yelp and other websites information that criticizes businesses and addresses matters of public concern. You can view a federal court decision where we prevailed in a libel per se claim asserting the innocent infringer defense here. Here you can find an arbitration decision where we successfully defended our client’s right to post negative opinions on YouTube about a used car dealer. We recently required a defendant who publicized an allegedly false lawsuit concerning our client to provide an apology and full retraction as part of a confidential financial settlement following our filing of a $16,000,000.00 defamation per se suit in federal district court.
We also handle emergency commercial litigation involving preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders (TROs), defamation, libel, and covenants not to compete, franchise, distributor and dealer wrongful termination, and trade secrets along with various other types of business dispute involving shareholders, partnerships, closely-held businesses and employee or executive breaches of fiduciary duties. Our Wheaton business, commercial, class-action, and consumer litigation lawyers represent individuals, family businesses, and enterprises of all sizes in a variety of legal disputes, including disputes among partners and shareholders as well as lawsuits between businesses and consumer rights, auto fraud, and wage claim individual and class action cases. In every case, our goal is to resolve disputes as quickly and successfully as possible, helping business clients protect their investments and get back to business as usual. From offices in Chicago, Elmhurst and Wilmette, near Oak Brook and Evanston, we serve clients throughout Illinois and the Midwest. You can contact us online here or call us on our toll-free number at 833-306-4933 or locally at 630-333-0333.