(Updated 7:39 p.m.) Late last week a Stamford Superior Court judge declined to allow U.S. Senate candidate Lee Whitnum’s defamation lawsuit against Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to move forward.
Essentially, the court decided not to allow Whitnum to revise her amended complaint and because she failed to file a substitute pleading within 15 days she fell out of compliance with the Connecticut Practice Book. The judge tossed Whitnum’s lawsuit on March 19 deciding effectively that there was no suit, if there was no complaint.
Whitnum, who is not an attorney, said Tuesday in a phone interview that she’s not exactly sure what happened.
“We’re still surprised at the ruling,” she said referring to both herself and an attorney friend who had been giving her guidance.
She said she has four months to appeal the ruling and is “hoping if there is any justice I will be given the opportunity.”
According to documents filed in the case Whitnum said she had to keep amending her complaint against the governor because he continued to make disparaging remarks about her, which she needed to add.
“Specifically the defendant calling the plaintiff ‘deranged’ in a public forum,” she wrote. “Plaintiff is well within her right in light of new findings to file an additional amended complaint—which she did.”
Alexander Pencu, Malloy’s attorney told the court in one of his motions that just because the plaintiff is representing herself without legal counsel doesn’t mean she gets to file an additional amended complaint.
“Instead, of waiting for a decision on the motion to strike, she amended her complaint in an attempt to avoid outright dismissal of her complaint,“ Pencu wrote in his last motion. “Whitnum simply has no reasonable justification for her failure to follow Connecticut Rules of Practice.”
He cited the numerous times Whitnum has filed lawsuits against others as a pro se litigant in both state and federal court.
Whitnum recently filed lawsuits in both state and federal court because she was excluded from the Norwich Bulletin’s U.S. Senate debate. Only three of the Democrats were invited to participate in that debate, but all five have been asked to participate in the April 9th debate being hosted by FOX CT and the Hartford Courant at the University of Connecticut.
Whitnum said she was thrilled to be included in the pre-primary debate and applauded the Hartford Courant for its “fairness.”