Update: Morris Discontinues Lawsuit
Posted by auroracitizen on October 18, 2011
On Oct 17, 2011, almost 1 year to the date after stating a $6,000,000 lawsuit against 3 residents of Aurora, Phyllis Morris has discontinued her lawsuit.
A discontinuance by a plaintiff is exceedingly rare in civil proceedings. In essence, the plaintiff, who has brought the fight to the defendants, admits that he or she no longer wishes to prosecute her claim. Where a plaintiff discontinues a claim, it could be reasonably assumed that they have recognized that their claim was fatally flawed and without merit from the outset.
This discontinuance is a total victory for the defendants, and substantiates and supports the position they took throughout this litigation—that they did nothing wrong.
The discontinuance also ends the Appeals to Judge Brown’s recent rulings — which have now been accepted by Ms. Morris.
It was manifestly unfair that the defendants were put to the time and expense of legal fees at the hands of Ms. Morris, most especially in light of the fact that Ms. Morris used tax dollars to pursue them in what appeared to be a politically motivated attack intended to silence their efforts to hold her government accountable.
It is equally telling that Ms. Morris discontinued the litigation when she was called upon to fund it out of her own pocket rather than use taxpayer funds as initially intended. She was fully prepared to use town resources to support her private lawsuit, at the towns’ sole risk and expense to her sole potential gain, despite the fact that the Town’s Code of Conduct states clearly that “public office is not to be used for personal gain”.
While the defendants, Hogg and Johnson defended their principles with their own funds — Phyllis Morris did not.
Hopefully, there has been a lesson learned from this experience. Freedom of expression is a fundamental democratic right of all Canadians — but it is a right that will be attacked, and will need protection.
Unfortunately, it is another blemish on the good name of Aurora that the defendants were called upon to personally defend this right.