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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

ESPN: Jack Clark Wants Pujols Lawsuit Dismissed

A motion filed Monday on behalf of Clark seeks dismissal of the defamation lawsuit filed by Pujols in October. The suit followed comments Clark made on his St. Louis radio show, “The King and the Ripper Show,” in August. Among other things, Clark said he knew “for a fact” that Pujols was “a juicer.”
. . .
Clark and his WGNU-AM show co-host Kevin Slaten were fired within days of the comments, and the station’s owner broadcast a lengthy apology and posted similarly contrite statements on its website. The lawsuit names Clark but does not name the radio station or Slaten.

Clark’s attorney, Albert Watkins, said Clark’s on-air comments were too vague to cause real harm to Pujols.

“You call someone a juicer, in fact, there are multiple definitions of `juicer,” Watkins said. “It could mean illegal performance enhancing drugs, legal performance enhancing drugs.

“Simply saying that my client asserted that Mr. Pujols was a `juicer,’ under the law that governs defamation actions, is not enough,” Watkins said.

I’d let the jury decide if they were talking about the Florida Sunshine Treat.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 14, 2014 at 09:41 PM | 32 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: desperation, jack clark, lawsuits, peds, pujols, st. louis cardinals

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   1. Lassus Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:03 AM (#4639223)
Maybe he meant the actual kitchen appliance. Jack Clark as Dada sports messenger.
   2. Tripon Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:32 AM (#4639226)
Jack Clark is an idiot.
   3. God Posted: January 15, 2014 at 03:45 AM (#4639250)
We already knew that. Now we know his lawyer is too.
   4. Rob_Wood Posted: January 15, 2014 at 06:22 AM (#4639261)
We may have previously talked about this, but couldn't this type of lawsuit be utilized by others (Sosa, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, ...) since it seems evident that sportswriters' comments regarding them and PEDs have adversely affected their chances of getting into the Hall of Fame? I purposely have left Bonds off the list since his case (and McGwire's) is different. Palmeiro is differenter too.
   5. Russ Posted: January 15, 2014 at 07:28 AM (#4639264)
but couldn't this type of lawsuit be utilized by others (Sosa, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, ...)


No sportswriter or journalist who has any idea of what they're doing would do what Clark did. The allegation would always be from an anonymous source, which means that it can't be disproven ("I was told that...").
   6. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:41 AM (#4639273)
Jack Clark as Dada sports messenger.
Pujols did end up effectively going to Dizz Knee Land.
   7. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 08:47 AM (#4639278)
We may have previously talked about this, but couldn't this type of lawsuit be utilized by others


Bo Jackson sued a newspaper that quoted a someone as saying he lost his hip because of steroid use. The paper quickly redacted the statement and apologized.
   8. AROM Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4639305)
Pujols hasn't done any endorsements for Jamba Juice?
   9. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 15, 2014 at 09:44 AM (#4639306)
The amusing bit is that Pujols' lawyers are probably quite happy to see the suit dismissed on these sort of grounds. The purpose of the lawsuit was to file a lawsuit, it only has potentially negative effects from here.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:39 AM (#4639338)
We may have previously talked about this, but couldn't this type of lawsuit be utilized by others (Sosa, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, ...) since it seems evident that sportswriters' comments regarding them and PEDs have adversely affected their chances of getting into the Hall of Fame?



Clemens did sue for defamation and lost against Brian McNamee. I would guess successfully suing a reporter would be much, much more difficult, if not impossible.
   11. McCoy Posted: January 15, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4639349)
Bo Jackson sued a newspaper that quoted a someone as saying he lost his hip because of steroid use. The paper quickly redacted the statement and apologized.

His lawsuit got dismissed as well.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4639375)
Isn't the problem with libel/slander suits that truth is an absolute defense against either?

As I understand it, the plaintiff basically has to prove the statement is false, and then still generally needs to prove the defendant knew it was false, and acted maliciously.

Happy to have an actual lawyer correct/clarify this for me.
   13. zonk Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:25 AM (#4639381)

As I understand it, the plaintiff basically has to prove the statement is false, and then still generally needs to prove the defendant knew it was false, and acted maliciously.


Was going to ask the same thing...

If I were to call someone an ####### -- and then that someone sued me for slander.... is the burden on me to prove that person IS an #######, or, is the burden on the person I called an ####### to prove he's not?
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4639384)
The burden is on the plaintiff. He has to prove (a) it is false; (b) the defendant knew it to be false; (c) the defendant had malice (meant to cause harm with the statement); and (d) it actually caused harm. You can see why its very hard to prove.
   15. Spahn Insane Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:30 AM (#4639386)
Isn't the problem with libel/slander suits that truth is an absolute defense against either?

As I understand it, the plaintiff basically has to prove the statement is false, and then still generally needs to prove the defendant knew it was false, and acted maliciously.

Happy to have an actual lawyer correct/clarify this for me.


Right (the standard would be either knowing the statement was false or having a "reckless disregard for the truth," since Pujols is a public figure), but it seems to me there's enough here to survive a motion to dismiss, particularly given the definitive nature of Clark's statement. The truth/falsity (and malice of the defendant) would be a question for the jury to decide. The plaintiff's burden is admittedly difficult to meet.
   16. TDF, situational idiot Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4639396)
We may have previously talked about this, but couldn't this type of lawsuit be utilized by others (Sosa, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, ...) since it seems evident that sportswriters' comments regarding them and PEDs have adversely affected their chances of getting into the Hall of Fame?
I would think it's tough to prove any real damage. Has not being in the HOF really hurt Pete Rose financially? The guy seems to be able to find people to give him money all the time.
   17. Dale Sams Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:50 AM (#4639401)
"....it could mean he was a fan of OJ Simpson...it could mean he sticks his finger in electric sockets..."
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4639403)


Was going to ask the same thing...

If I were to call someone an ####### -- and then that someone sued me for slander.... is the burden on me to prove that person IS an #######, or, is the burden on the person I called an ####### to prove he's not?


I believe this specific legal matter was settled with the assistance of noted barrister, Robin "Stormy" Weathers.
   19. Perry Posted: January 15, 2014 at 11:55 AM (#4639416)
In 2005 former Rockies announcer Wayne Hagin, in the context of a radio discussion about steriods, claimed that Todd Helton had "tried it." Said that Don Baylor had told him that he (Baylor) had told Helton to "get off the juice" because it made him stiff defensively and altered his swing. Hagin never used the word "steroids" but the implication was there, and ESPN said Hagin had accused Helton of steroid use.

Helton and Baylor both went ballistic and Helton threatened legal action against Hagin, although I don't think he went through with it, settling for an apology. Baylor said the only discussion he had had with Helton concerned creatine and that he was sure Helton would never use steroids. So there is some precedent for using "juice" -- or at least claiming to -- to mean something other than steroids.
   20. TDF, situational idiot Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:01 PM (#4639433)
Helton and Baylor both went ballistic and Helton threatened legal action against Hagin, although I don't think he went through with it, settling for an apology
Isn't this the real issue here? Didn't Clark not only not apologize but publicly stand behind his statements?
   21. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:10 PM (#4639451)
We may have previously talked about this, but couldn't this type of lawsuit be utilized by others (Sosa, Clemens, Bagwell, Piazza, ...) since it seems evident that sportswriters' comments regarding them and PEDs have adversely affected their chances of getting into the Hall of Fame?
I would think it's tough to prove any real damage. Has not being in the HOF really hurt Pete Rose financially? The guy seems to be able to find people to give him money all the time.


I believe defaming someone with respect to their profession creates presumptive damages. I don't think Pujols has to show money lost but I'm reaching way back into the fuzzy parts of my brain here.

At a minimum, I don't think Clark can prevail on a motion by arguing Pujols hasn't been damaged.
   22. Shredder Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:15 PM (#4639463)
Maybe he meant the actual kitchen appliance. Jack Clark as Dada sports messenger.
Maybe he meant to say Pujols was using a Juice Loosener. IT'S WHISPER QUIET!!
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:19 PM (#4639469)
The "harm" need not necessarily be economic harm. Harm to reputation constitutes harm IIRC.
   24. TJ Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:27 PM (#4639474)
To paraphrase what my pappy used to say, "Too bad, Jack Clark- people in hell want ice water, too..."
   25. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:41 PM (#4639487)
Right (the standard would be either knowing the statement was false or having a "reckless disregard for the truth," since Pujols is a public figure), but it seems to me there's enough here to survive a motion to dismiss, particularly given the definitive nature of Clark's statement. The truth/falsity (and malice of the defendant) would be a question for the jury to decide. The plaintiff's burden is admittedly difficult to meet.


Yeah, what's different here from the sportswriters example is that Clark didn't just make a vague or general statement "I think Pujols is a juicer." Clark cited a specific source (Mehfeld, who had access to Pujols) and a specific conversation that occurred. And now the source he cited claims that he never said that to Clark.

Ultimately this fight is over who is lying -- Clark or Mehfeld. Or perhaps Clark is simply mistaken. That's a question for the jury to decide.

Clark's attorney is basically arguing that "juicer" is too vague a term to constitute defamation under the law. It's his only real argument because a motion to dismiss you are assuming arguendo that the factual allegations stated in the complaint are true. (And Clark obviously can't deny what was said.) My guess is that Pujols "survives" Clark's motion to dismiss. (I use "survive" in quotes because I don't think Pujols has a great chance to win this anyway, so it's probably to his advantage if the suit is dismissed.)

I tend to believe Clark here, because I don't think he'd cite a specific source if he was lying. It's been rare in the PED era for people to actually cite specific sources.

The danger with this lawsuit for Pujols is now Clark's attorney sends an investigator digging around to see if he can uncover someone else who claims that Pujols used.
   26. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 12:55 PM (#4639504)
Just to refresh what happened here:

Clark, who began working as a sports-radio talk show host at WGNU-AM in St. Louis in early August, said he based his accusations on conversations he had with Chris Mehlfeld, Pujols’ former personal trainer who worked with the Dodgers when Clark was the team’s hitting coach in 2000.

When on-air partner Kevin Slaten said he long believed Pujols “has been a juicer,” Clark jumped in with his own take.

“I know for a fact he was,” Clark said. “The trainer that worked with him, threw him batting practice from Kansas City, that worked him out every day, basically told me that’s what he did.”

   27. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4639537)
Ray, that's only part of it. Has Clark forgotten what he actually said on the air?

“I had asked him about conditioning and working me out, what he would do for me, and he asked me whether I had ever thought of taking some steroids,” Clark said. “... He just told me that he wanted me to get started on steroids and he had some other guys that were doing it. He told me that’s how he’s conditioning this guy that he met out of high school and college and he looked like he was going to be a star, keep an eye on him.’’

Clark said he was looking for a nutrition program, not steroids.

“He told me, ‘Well you couldn’t do what I do with Albert Pujols, he’s on this real strenuous workout deal.’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t want to try to do that.’ Every day he kind of came to me and says, ‘you ready to do it? I’m ready to do it.’ I said, ‘Well I’m just not a needle guy, I’ve had enough surgeries and injuries over the years. I don’t like needles ... I’m not going to do that ... I’m not a player anymore.

“He had told me he had done that with Pujols, with steroids, and I really never thought too much about it because steroids were really not on my radar screen at that time.”

...

On Monday, Clark reiterated his allegations on the air.

Mihlfeld “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie” and used the term “shot him up” again.

It's going to be hard for Clark to argue that he was talking about "legal performance enhancing drugs".

EDIT: bolding added by me in the above quote.
   28. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4639541)
Mihlfeld was the trainer Deadspin and other online sources reported as being the source of Jason Grimsley's steroids. He has worked with Pujols since 1998.

More hereon Mihlfeld.
   29. Anonymous Observer Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:16 PM (#4639543)
If the case is not dismissed, Jack Clark's attorney can just say that his client is too dumb to know what he did was wrong.

It worked for Pedro Guerrero, anyway.
   30. Ray (RDP) Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:20 PM (#4639552)
#27 I hadn't seen those detailed comments before. So yes, the already shaky "juicing is a vague term and could mean legal substances" argument has even less of a chance (where "less" = 0) of working to get the suit dismissed.
   31. stanmvp48 Posted: January 15, 2014 at 01:43 PM (#4639587)
"If the case is not dismissed, Jack Clark's attorney can just say that his client is too dumb to know what he did was wrong."

Or that no damage was suffered because everybody believes he is dumb.

   32. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: January 15, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4639621)
Mihlfeld “had told me what he was doing with ‘Poolie” and used the term “shot him up” again.

Jason Grimsley wasn't enough, now this guy casts allegations at Jim Poole?

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