Savage Romance Libel Allegations Lead to Severe Sanctions

I blogged about the underlying libel case, Tera Shanley a/k/a T.S. Joyce & Wicked Willow Press, LLC v. Robyn A. Hutchings a/k/a Terry Bolryder a/k/a Domino Savage two months ago; here’s a quick summary of the allegations:

Ms. Shanley and Ms. Hutchings both write paranormal romance fiction. Readers of such fiction gather online to discuss books and promote authors. For instance, Ms. Hutchings avers that she has 8,000 followers on Facebook and 1,500 followers on Instagram. Ms. Shanley and Ms. Hutchings interacted in one online community for four months in 2016.

At diverse times, Ms. Hutchings published various negative comments about Ms. Shanley. She accused Ms. Shanley of being a “known homewrecker[,]” “sexually coerc[ing] and blacklist[ing] male models[,]” and engaging in “white supremacy dog whistling.” She asked Ms. Shanley to “come answer for all the cheating and husband stealing[.]” Ms. Hutchings called Ms. Shanley a “repeat offender” rapist who “ruined everyone’s rep[utation]” and said, “now its [sic] your turn.”

In addition to the rape allegations, Ms. Hutchings accused Ms. Shanley of being “an actual child molester” who “raped a kid[,]” including her own child. She offered one thousand dollars if “anyone brings [Ms. Shanley] … here.” And she uploaded a picture of a man with a noose around his neck after a post stating, “I’m really mad [Ms. Shanley] … you existing is like a total blight on humanity.”

Even then, defendant Hutchings had apparently not complied well with her discovery obligations, and this “obstreperous litigation behavior” seems to have continued. As a result, in a detailed order issued today Magistrate Judge Jared C. Bennett (D. Utah) imposed serious sanctions on the defendant:

1. Plaintiffs’ Rule 37(b) Motion for Sanctions is GRANTED.

2. The falsity of all of Ms. Hutchings’s social media statements referenced in Plaintiffs’ complaint are “taken as established” for purposes of this action.

3. Ms. Hutchings is prohibited from introducing any future evidence to support her defense of truth.

4. Ms. Hutchings’s affirmative defenses are stricken.

Pro se litigants, take heed.

Because I can’t resist, let me quote again from a jacket blurb for defendant Domino Savage’s The Demon’s Pet (Rise of the Morningstar Book 1) (>3000 Amazon reviews):

Ever since the great divide, when supernaturals emerged to take back the world, wolf shifters like me have lived in sheltered havens.

The celestials, winged gods who inhabit the sky realms above us, protect us as long as we follow the rules, and kill us if we don’t.

So when I refuse to accept my place as the pack’s scapegoat, they send an archangel to kill me. From the instant I see Samael, something burns between us. He’s as powerful as I am powerless, with authority no one can gainsay.

And he decides he’d rather take me than kill me….

And from a jacket blurb for plaintiff T.S. Joyce’s Lumberjack Werebear (Saw Bears Series Book 1) (also >3000 Amazon reviews):

Painter, Brooke Belle, is running from her past and hoping that a few weeks in a quaint country cabin will bring her artistic muse back from the brink. But when she lands smack dab in the middle of Asheland Mobile Park, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. Not only has her mentor rented her a dilapidated mobile home in the middle of nowhere, but the trailer park is filled with big, burly, growly, flirty, sexy-as-hell lumberjacks. And one in particular is making her think that maybe she’s landed right where she needs to be….

I look forward to the coming volumes, Demonic Discovery Abuse and Saucy Saw Bears Sanctions.

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