SWADEEP NIGAM WINS LEGAL JUDGMENT AGAINST MANDEEP SINGH, RAJA MITTAL AND YOGENDRA SOLANKI IN DEFAMATION CASE
Claims of defamation brought by Mandeep Singh, Raja Mittal and Yogendra Solanki against Swadeep Nigam and Vegasdesi have been dismissed by Clark County District Court Judge Timothy Williams. In addition to dismissing the claims of defamation, Judge Williams (after conducting a hearing) also ordered Singh, Mittal and Solanki to pay Nigam $34,297.09 in attorney fees, costs and statutory damages (which included a $10,000 penalty) with both pre-judgment and post-judgment interest. Per Judge Williams’ decision, “each Plaintiff is jointly and severally liable for satisfaction of the judgment” in favor of Nigam.
According to the lawsuit brought by Singh, Mittal and Solanki, Defendant Nigam was alleged to have “published unflattering, negative and otherwise inflammatory postings” about them on Vegasdesi. In response, Defendant Nigam filed a special motion to dismiss through his powerful attorney Paul S. Padda, Esq. alleging that the lawsuit violated Nevada’s anti-SLAPP statute by seeking to silence Nigam’s reporting on matters of public interest.
In ruling in favor of Nigam and Vegasdesi, Judge Williams found that all of the statements alleged to be defamatory were “communications involving issues of public interest that were made in a public forum.” The Judge cited a prior decision by the Nevada Supreme Court which found that a newsletter distributed to numerous people was a “public forum” because it was a “vehicle for communicating a message about public matters to a large and interested community.” Thus, in rendering his ruling, Judge Williams found that Vegasdesi was a public forum that communicates matters of public interest and is deserving of protection under Nevada anti-SLAPP statute. Also, in specifically rejecting Mandeep Singh’s claims that the terms “fraudster,” “con-artist” and “swindler” were defamatory as applied to him, Judge Williams determined these were mere expressions of rhetorical hyperbole and not actionable defamation.
In awarding Nigam $34,297.09 in attorney fees, costs and statutory damages for having to defend an improper lawsuit, Judge Williams made note of attorney Padda’s “distinguished professional background and specific experience in cases of this kind.” Paul Padda, a former federal prosecutor and graduate of several elite institutions, has handled numerous high-profile cases including successfully obtaining a $160 million verdict against a well-known Las Vegas nightclub. His outstanding legal skills helped vindicate Vegasdesi and affirm the important principle that local journalism here in Nevada must never fall victim to intimidation tactics.
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