Just Ask Gonzo: Defendants file dismissal motion in fired SIUE professor case

Steve Gonzalez Mar. 21, 2006, 6:01am

Question: What ever happened to the college professor case, the one who sued his colleagues for defamation seeking almost a million bucks?

Dennis Westerman
Boulder, Colorado

Gonzo: The case you refer to involves Christopher Dussold of Sorento, who filed a nine-count defamation lawsuit in Madison County Circuit Court March 15, 2005, seeking at least $750,000 in compensatory and punitive damages claiming damage to his reputation.

The suit names Gary Giamartino of Glen Carbon, Mary Sue Love and Angelo Monaco of Edwardsville, Rakesh Bharati of Maryville, Gertrude Pannirselvam, Chris Spickerman and Jennifer Peyla of Madison County, and Radcliff Edmonds of St. Louis, as well as unknown defendants.

Dussold, who was a Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville professor, claims defendants published one or more oral or written false statements which "were intended to impeach his honesty, integrity, virtue or reputation."

Nothing has happened in the case other than the defendants filed their answer and then filed a motion to dismiss the suit in February.

Circuit Judge Andy Matoesian has not set a date on that hearing.

According to the complaint, the defamatory statements included:

  • That Dussold had been involved in an improper and/or illicit relationship with another and that Dussold has a history of being involved in such relationships;

  • The only reason Dussold was able to accomplish certain academic goals and criteria was because he was "friendly" with the individuals who were called upon to make determinations regarding attainment of the needed criteria;

  • That Dussold has been involved in fraud regarding academic integrity and credentialing.

    Dussold claims the statements made by the defendants were false and that there was an unprivileged publication of these defamatory statements to a third party.

    In the suit, Dussold claims that the statements were harmful and "prejudiced a person in his profession and, if true, would tend to cause a person to be shunned by or excluded from society."

    Dussold also claims the statements made by the defendants were known to be false and were likely to impact his integrity.

    According to the complaint, Dussold suffered economic losses, severe emotional distress, a damaged reputation, and out-of-pocket expenses associated with the investigation and attempt to mitigate the damages caused by the defendants.

    Dussold is a 1993 SIUE graduate and also earned his master's degree from the university. His first teaching position was at SIUE.

    In September 2005, Dussold joined the staff of McKendree College in Lebanon as an assistant professor of accounting, economics and finance.

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