Decision postponed in libel, slander suit

March 03, 1994

Inclement weather in Carroll County yesterday led Circuit Court Judge Luke K. Burns to postpone handing down his decision in the $581,600 libel and slander suit filed by two Marston farmers against the Humane Society of Carroll County.

Judge Burns is scheduled to present his decision in the case from the bench today at 2 p.m.

The civil trial ended Tuesday.

The plaintiffs in the case, August Frederick "Fred" Schisler and his brother, Carroll Lynn Schisler, claim the Humane Society and two of its employees -- Director Carolyn "Nicky" Ratliff and animal control officer David Stair -- made statements to the press that ruined their business after an April 11, 1990, raid on their farm during an animal cruelty investigation.

The defendants claim there is no evidence that the statements were made maliciously or with a reckless disregard for the truth.

The Humane Society also has argued that it should not be a defendant because it is a charitable organization, protected from civil actions.

The Schislers, who buy livestock to fatten and resell, are seeking $120,000 in damages from Ms. Ratliff, $171,600 from Mr. Stair and $290,000 from the Humane Society.

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