JWC lawsuit tossed against Robinson, County

WINNSBORO – Two days after a judge dismissed the Jenkinsville Water Company’s libel lawsuit against a former Fairfield County councilwoman, a similar suit filed against a second council member has been thrown out too.

On March 31, Circuit Judge Brian Gibbons signed an order dismissing litigation filed against Neil Robinson and Fairfield County as a whole.

The suit accused Robinson of conspiracy, claiming he “recruited” citizens to air grievances about JWC water quality at county council meetings.

Filed in April 2022, the original suit also claimed Fairfield County was “vicariously liable” for Robinson’s actions.

Prior to the dismissal, Fairfield county attorney Tommy Morgan had filed a memo in support of an amended motion to dismiss the water company’s lawsuit.

“The court respectfully grants the defendant’s motion based upon oral argument and the memorandum of law submitted,” the order states. “Attorney for the defendants shall prepare a more formal order and submit to e-filing within 10 days.”

Dismissal of the Robinson suit comes after the same judge tossed a libel lawsuit the JWC filed against former Councilwoman Bertha Goins.

The suit asserted Goins’ complaints about JWC water quality amounted to defamation. Judge Gibbons dismissed that lawsuit on March 29.

The memo filed in the Robinson case states the JWC litigation references activity allegedly occurring in October 2019, which is beyond the two-year statute of limitations limit, and that JWC lawyers failed to take steps to extend the statute of limitations.

Additionally, the memo states the suit fails to prove a conspiracy actually occurred because Robinson acted in his official capacity as a sitting councilman.

“The allegations against Defendant Robinson are well within his scope of a county council representative in the fact that he would have asked members of the community to speak at a council meeting regarding their water quality,” the filing states. “There are no facts pled that would support actual malice or intent to harm on behalf of Defendant Robinson.”

The filing goes on to state that nobody actually spoke about JWC water quality at a council meeting, which court papers say negate any liability on Robinson’s part. There’s also no evidence Goins and Robinson worked together to recruit citizens to speak, court records state.

“Plaintiff asserts that Defendant Robinson recruited members and Plaintiff asserts Goins made false statements,” the document states. “However Plaintiff cannot assert Defendant Robinson and Goins acted in concert to recruit members of the community,”

The Robinson lawsuit claimed he and Goins engaged in a “civil conspiracy” to defame the JWC. It also accused Robinson of pushing to consolidate various Fairfield water services, including the JWC.

Robinson’s attorney responded by stating the JWC “artfully crafts their complaint” to state Goins and Robinson worked in concert, which the filing denies.

Robinson’s attorney responded by stating the JWC “artfully crafts their complaint” to state Goins and Robinson worked in concert, which the filing denies.

“Defendants vehemently deny the allegation that any attempt was made to have members of the community speak at the County Council Meeting,” the filing states. “Even if Defendants did so, it was in good faith due to the Council’s commitment to wanting to learn more about the quality of the water.”

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