When I first heard I was being sued by the subject of one of my stories, I didn’t think it would amount to much. I certainly didn’t think I’d ever find myself squirming in a courtroom bench as my accuser and a judge read through one of my stories word-for-word.
But that’s exactly where I found myself on Friday afternoon as Multnomah County Judge Melvin Oden-Orr considered the merits of case number 19CV47330. A team of four lawyers representing media companies that own The Oregonian, Willamette Week, KATU and others sat on one side of the room and Mark Dickerson — who chose to represent himself — sat on the other.
It all started December 13th when a man knocked on my door and pushed a stack of papers into my wife’s hands. I had been served papers in a lawsuit brought by Dickerson against myself and seven media companies. Dickerson sought $750,000 against each of us for Defamation and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.