State superintendent defamation suit arguments heard by Wyoming Supreme Court

CHEYENNE - Attorneys presented arguments Thursday at the Wyoming Supreme Court in a defamation case between the former state superintendent of public instruction and a state lawmaker who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress.

Cindy Hill sued former state Rep. Tim Stubson last year. She alleged he made false and defamatory comments against her in a later deleted response to a question from a reporter on Stubson's congressional Facebook page.

The question in the post asked about Stubson's support for a 2013 bill (Senate File 104) that sought to remove Hill from her post in charge of the Wyoming Department of Education. That law was struck down by the Wyoming Supreme Court a year later.

Hill alleged in her complaint that Stubson was defaming her when he said in the comment that she was "out of control," that lawmakers had to "stop her" and that she had committed "illegal acts."

Laramie County District Judge Thomas Campbell dismissed the defamation case in July, writing in his decision that "the court is mindful that to allow a plaintiff to pursue meritless claims in a defamation case will undoubtedly result in a chilling effect on a defendant's exercise of their First Amendment rights."

But on Thursday, Hill's husband and attorney, Drake Hill, argued that the lower court was wrong in its decision to dismiss his wife's claims.

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