Defendants in Duggar sisters privacy case file motion seeking ban of plaintiffs using term ‘victims’

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In a lengthy court filing on November 12, attorneys for the defendants in the Duggar sisters’ lawsuit over the release of police documents requested that the court prohibit the plaintiffs’ lawyers from using the term “victims” to describe the plaintiffs, among other motions.

The Western District of Arkansas Court filing states that the plaintiffs using “victims” to describe themselves in court would be “designed to invoke the sympathy and/or passion of the jury, as well as create prejudice.”

The original lawsuit was filed by Jill Dillard, Jessa Sewald, Jinger Vuolo and Joy Duggar on May 18, 2017, alleging a number of legal causes of action against a host of defendants. The legal claims have been narrowed down, as has the pool of defendants.

The claims, now made against remaining defendants Maj. Rick Hoyt of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Ernest Cate, Springdale city attorney and former Police Chief Kathy O’Kelley are made under Arkansas law for outrage, invasion of privacy by intrusion upon seclusion and invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts, according to a court filing.

The November 12 defense filing seeks to prohibit multiple witnesses from testifying, including Jim Bob Duggar.

“Jim Bob Duggar should not be permitted to testify because he has intentionally dodged and avoided service, hiding behind locked gates and fleeing the state,” the defense filing stated, continuing to note that Duggar “acted in bad faith to gain an unfair advantage.”

The filing requests that if Duggar is allowed to testify, he should be ordered to sit for a deposition for the defense prior to trial.

The filing lists multiple occasions on which a process server attempted to serve Duggar and his wife, Michelle, both at home and their business. The document states that the server “spent approximately 15 hours attempting to serve both Jim Bob and Michelle,” and that “Jim Bob intentionally avoided service of process.”

Other requests to the court in the defense filing include prohibiting the testimony of other witnesses, such as that of Robert Wynne, a Ph.D. who is not a physician and has never reviewed any of the plaintiffs’ medical records. The defense filing explains that they anticipate the plaintiffs will attempt to introuce Wynne’s testiony or opinions as an expert witness at trial.

Another request in the motion is to prohibit the introduction of testimony or evidence that the Duggar sisters “suffered emotional distress due to the actions of third parties including “tabloid reporters who were present outside the Duggar home,” calling such testimony “highly prejudicial” and stating that it would “undoubtedly confuse the jury regarding the issues before the Court.”

The defense also filed a series of emails as evidence of their multiple attempts to reach Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, consisting of exchanges between attorneys for both sides.

The trial is scheduled to start on December 9 in the Western District of Arkansas Court in Fayetteville, with judge Timothy L. Brooks presiding.

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