Michael Winland, Rosemary Winland, Mike Winland Studios and ShockaCon host an annual horror and science fiction convention at Beni Kedem Shrine Center in Charleston , according to a complaint filed in Mercer Circuit Court.
The plaintiffs claim Alaina Damewood had previously appeared at the convention as a presenter on the topics of religious institutions and exorcisms and contacted the plaintiffs and inquired as to whether the plaintiffs would grant her free admission to the 2016 annual convention as a handler for Oliver Robbins, a writer, director and former child actor who was scheduled to appear at the convention and with whom she was a personal acquaintance.
The plaintiffs respectfully denied Damewood’s request to be granted free admission as a handler, advising her that she did not possess the qualifications and credentials necessary to be designated as a handler, according to the suit.
Subsequent to the plaintiffs denying Damewood’s request, she posted multiple offensive and defamatory comments about the plaintiffs from her public Facebook account, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the comments consisted of groundless allegations that they had violated her civil rights and denied her request to bring a service animal to the convention.
The comments made by Damewood were categorically false and without merit and they are defamatory, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim at no time did they, nor anyone acting on their behalf, denied or refused Damewood access or accommodations to the convention based upon any disabilities she may possess.
Neither the plaintiffs, nor anyone on their behalf, refused to permit Damewood the option or opportunity to utilize a service animal at the convention and the issue of her disability was only raised as a retaliatory measure after the plaintiffs refused to grant her free entrance into the convention, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs claim the defendant is responsible for the false and defamatory statements on her Facebook account made by herself, as well as other posters.
By publishing false accusations that the plaintiffs violated her civil rights without any supporting evidence and then by asking others for comments, the defendant specifically encouraged others to make defamatory comments concerning the plaintiffs, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs are seeking an entry of a preliminary and permanent injunction to prevent or prohibit Damewood from disseminating any false and defamatory statements regarding the plaintiffs; entry of an order requiring Damewood to remove the false and defamatory statements and comments that have been published on her Facebook account; entry of an order requiring Damewood to post a retraction on her Facebook; and compensatory damages. They are being represented by Wesley V. Queen of Queen Law Offices.
Mercer Circuit Court case number: 16-C-272