Letter: Situations like Phil Robertson's create culture of fear - East Valley Tribune: Letters To The Editor

Letter: Situations like Phil Robertson's create culture of fear

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Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014 1:00 am | Updated: 6:03 pm, Mon Jan 13, 2014.

I agree with some, but not all, of what “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson says. I believe a person should be allowed to live his or her life as he or she chooses, as long as it’s within the law.

On the other hand, I believe if you present yourself as a public figure, which the gay rights folks certainly have done, than they shouldn’t get offended if they hear comments or opinions.

In defense of Phil Robertson and gay people, I believe in freedom of choice, and I believe a person should have the freedom of opinion.

I have much in common with the “Duck Dynasty” star. We bother were “penalized” for the same reason, voicing an opinion.

On June 10, 2011, Attorney Kent Cammack from the law firm Gust Rosenfeld filed a lawsuit on behalf of his client, Dolce Vita at Superstition Mountain, LLC, against their tenants, Hughlan Vance and Gail Vance. On Aug. 8, 2011, the Vances filed their answer to the lawsuit and subsequently filed a motion to dismiss.

Unfortunately, with little scrutiny of the complete issue, including undeniable fact the lawsuit was filed in retaliation against the Vances, the court refused to dismiss the lawsuit.

On March 23, 2012, Cammack subsequently filed a motion for a summary judgment to get a ruling, thereby avoiding a jury trial. On July 12, 2012, the court subsequently denied ruling on the portion of Cammack’s motion for a summary judgment that asserted malice and damages, as that is for a jury to decide.

From the beginning to the end, the Vances endured the litigation process, including everything a lawyer could possibly through at you.

After months of litigation, on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:13 p.m., Cammack sent the Vances an email requesting a meeting with them. The Vances agreed, and the meeting took place at Dolce Vita in the Vance home on Friday, March 29, 2013 at 4 p.m. After a lengthy discussion, Cammack and the Vances agreed to resolve the existing lawsuit without any further litigation.

Individuals and community groups are often sued for exercising their constitutional rights. The result is a chilling effect on persons participating in a debate. This chilling effect is not limited to a person’s fear of being the target of future litigation; others refrain from speaking or participating in issues of public concern.

Defending against a lawsuit, even when the defense is strong, requires substantial investment of time, money and resources. The Vances are short on money, but long on time and resources.

Due to a lack of finances, the Vances were forced to fight the lawsuit on their own, and thereby negotiate a resolution without hiring an attorney.

Hugh Vance

Apache Junction

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