The Arkansas Court of Appeals today dismissed Josh Duggar’s lawsuit claiming damages for release by Springdale and Washington County in 2015 of investigation records that indicated molestation of his sisters several years earlier.
The former star of a reality TV show had a federal court suit on the same issue dismissed and then went to state court for invasion of privacy and other claims. A circuit judge dismissed that case. The dismissal was upheld today.
Among others, the court said Duggar hadn’t demonstrated intentional infliction of emotional distress by the victims in complying with FOI requests. It said embarrassment doesn’t meet the definition of emotional distress in law. Duggar was not a juvenile at the time the investigation was done and thus not entitled to the secrecy of the records, though they pertained to acts during his juvenile years. As to invasion of privacy, the opinion noted that allegations against Duggar were already public through a national publication. The court couldn’t determine if the reports disclosed previously private information because Duggar didn’t file them with his lawsuit. Duggar also didn’t allege the falsity of the information contained in the reports.
The court finally dismissed most of Duggar’s claims with prejudice, which means they could not be refiled But it left open an avenue of appeal for him on a claim under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act that his constitutional rights had been violated by the release of juvenile information. The Court of Appeals agreed that Duggar had not made a valid claim for this, but since it was the first time he’d made the argument, he could try again.
Duggar lost his TV role and a job with a national religious/political organization after the news broke. His sisters also have a federal lawsuit pending over the release of the information.