News and Tribune

August 3, 2013

Jeffersonville mayor to give deposition in mailer suit

Lawsuit filed by woman for ‘emotional and mental anguish’

By BRADEN LAMMERS
braden.lammers@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — A politically motivated mailer sent out before the 2010 May primary election is again causing headaches for Mayor Mike Moore.

A special judge has ruled that Moore must give a deposition in a civil suit against a political action committee, to which he is not a party. According to online court records, Moore issued a motion for a protective order with his attorney, Jack Vissing, to avoid giving the deposition.

Moore’s ex-wife, Amy Sturgis, and daughter, Amanda Moore, are suing Citizens for Decency in Government, a political action group, for sending out a mailer prior to the 2010 primary election that alleged Mike Moore engaged in sexual misconduct with his daughter in 1985.

No charges were ever filed against Mike Moore and he has consistently denied the allegations detailed in the report.

Sturgis and Amanda Moore are seeking unspecified damages in the suit for “emotional distress and reputation damages.”

The mailer, which was from an Indiana State Police report, did not have Amanda Moore’s name and Social Security numbers redacted. It was sent out to nearly 8,000 Clark County residents in April 2010. It was before the primary in which Mike Moore was running for re-election as Clark County Commissioner.

Indiana State Police said at the time the mailer was sent out the report should have never been released unless a court or a prosecutor subpoenaed the police agency to release it.

It was believed the police report was part of the Mike Moore and Sturgis divorce case in 1986, which led to it being released. No record of the report was in the divorce filing when the News and Tribune examined the court archives in 2010.

Sturgis and Amanda Moore’s attorney, John Davis Cox, said that was the purpose in seeking Mike Moore’s deposition.

“He filed an affidavit that I want to ask him questions about ... whether the ISP report was ever part of the court file,” Cox said.

At the time the mailer was sent out, many county residents and Mike Moore said it was  an underhanded political tactic designed to damage his reputation. If it was a tactic to damage his political chances, it backfired.

Mike Moore handily won re-election for Clark County Commissioner, a precursor to his successful run for Jeffersonville mayor in 2011.

The only name listed on the PAC’s filings with the county election office was Patrick W. Stout, who was listed as the group’s treasurer. Stout and the PAC were named as defendants in the suit filed by Amanda Moore and Sturgis.



THE RULING

The court, and specially appointed Washington County Circuit Court Judge Robert Bennett, ruled that Moore will be required to give a deposition in the case. However, according to court documents, the deposition will be “limited to Mr. Moore’s knowledge of facts and circumstances surrounding the purported admission of the document.”

In the motion for protective order, Vissing said the deposition is another attempt to damage Mike Moore’s political career.

“The plaintiffs have given the report to WAVE-3 troubleshooter in an attempt to embarrass Mr. Moore in his political career,” according to the motion. “A protective order is the only remedy Mr. Moore, who is not a party to this litigation, has in this matter.”

Vissing said the belief is that the video deposition would be used to attack Mike Moore in a re-election campaign for mayor. He has not yet declared whether or not he will seek re-election.

“Politics in Clark County are regarded as unpleasant and hard and the competitors are vicious and will use any attempts to insult or harm one another,” Vissing wrote in the motion. “Mr. Moore is a victim, not a perpetrator.”

Others listed to give testimony in the case include Sturgis, Amanda Moore, Clark County Clerk Barbara Haas, Stout, former Clark County Councilman Chuck Moore, who is Mike’s brother, Judge Dan Moore — who is no relation to Mike — and attorney Larry Wilder and a psychiatrist, social worker and neuropsychologist who have treated Sturgis.

Moore, when contacted by the News and Tribune, said he did not wish to comment on the ongoing court case.

Attempts to reach Vissing on Friday were unsuccessful.