Various Authors noon, Jan. 25
Shames loses libel lawsuit against Aguirre
He previously lost in his suit against UCAN
Michael Shames, former executive director of watchdog Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), lost a libel suit today (Sept. 9) against attorney Mike Aguirre. Aguirre represented two whistleblowers whose revelations about Shames led indirectly to his dismissal as executive director. Shames sued UCAN and lost recently.
Today, Superior Court Judge Ronald Prager ruled against Shames a second time. He had sued Aguirre on four grounds, including libel, blacklisting and interference with Shames's ability to make a living. Aguirre's lawyer, Maria Severson, filed an anti-SLAPP charge. (SLAPP stands for strategic lawsuit against public participation-- a lawsuit intended to intimidate or silence critics.)
Among many things, Prager ruled that "the alleged statements by [Aguirre] about [Shames] regarding theft, unaccounted for money, and misdirected funds were made while investigations, e.g. whistleblower investigation and lawsuits...were in progress." Shames "failed to establish that the statements at issue were false or that [Aguirre] acted with malice."
Shames's suit against whistleblower David Peffer has not been heard.