Shames effectively loses in libel suit against UCAN

Ruling tentative, but Shames's lawyer has already been knocked out

In a tentative ruling today (Aug. 29), Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager ruled for Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN) in the libel lawsuit filed against it by Michael Shames, UCAN's former executive director. The court said that Shames failed to meet his burden for prevailing on his claims.

"The plaintiff has no direct evidence that anyone at defendant [UCAN] made statements or leaked documents to the press. Thus, plaintiff claims are all premised on speculation," said Prager. He said UCAN should serve a motion for attorney fees and costs which will be set.

The judge scolded Shames in one part of his decision, pointing out, "The court notes that plaintiff's declaration is replete with copious legal argument. It appears to the court that plaintiff's 41-page declaration is a not so subtle attempt to circumvent the court's ruling limiting the length of the opposition."

Earlier, the judge said that Shames's attorney, Hal Rosner, could not be Shames's lawyer because he formerly worked for UCAN. That leaves Shames without an attorney, although he himself is an attorney. According to good sources, Shames has accepted the tentative rulings of Prager.

Shames still has a suit against David Peffer, a UCAN whistleblower, and Mike Aguirre, Peffer's attorney.

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