- Touting himself as "one of America's greatest psychics",
Sean David Morton didn't have the ability to foretell his own future when
he filed a one-million dollar defamation lawsuit against the Internet website
UFOWATCHDOG.COM and its editor Royce J. Myers III.
- Morton alleged in a lawsuit that UFOWATCHDOG.COM and
its editor had "printed false and libelous statements" in a series
of articles appearing on the Internet. These articles, most notably 'The
Shameless Psychic and His Prophecy of Lies', challenged many of Morton's
public claims regarding his supposed psychic abilities, his UFO claims,
and raised serious questions about Morton's alleged background and educational
- Representing UFOWATCHDOG.COM, well-known Los Angeles
civil rights attorney Carol A. Sobel filed a motion to have Morton's lawsuit
dismissed under a California statute enacted in 1992 to protect people
from defamation and other Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation
(SLAPP). A SLAPP suit is usually filed under the guise of a defamation
claim and is designed to silence outspoken opponents or critics by forcing
them to devote time and resources in combating a lawsuit.
- Once the motion to dismiss is filed by the defendant,
the party filing the motion is faced with proving two burdens: The statements
complained of were made on an issue of public interest and the statements
were made in a public forum. The public forum in this matter was the UFOWATCHDOG.COM
website and the public issue was Morton's alleged expertise and public
claims regarding UFOs and paranormal phenomena, which are both obviously
issues of public interest.
- Sobel appeared at a hearing on March 13, 2003, in Los
Angeles Superior Court before Judge Cary Nishimoto.
- In arguments submitted to the court on behalf of UFOWATCHDOG.COM,
attorney Carol A. Sobel noted that Morton had "not submitted a shred
of evidence to prove the falsity of even a single one of the alleged defamatory
statements he claims Defendants made of and concerning him."
A tentative ruling was issued by Judge Nishimoto in favor of UFOWATCHDOG.COM.
The ruling was not final, as Judge Nishimoto provided Morton's attorney
a second chance to file papers with the court to offer evidence of Morton's
- "Apparently Mr.Morton's attorney failed to file
some papers with the court. The judge gave Mr.Morton's attorney another
chance to file the papers. After the initial ruling, we had to wait for
a final ruling from the court so the judge could take Mr.Morton's papers
into account. Even with the judge giving Mr.Morton a second chance to offer
proof to the court, it still didn't do any good," Myers said.
- On April 1, 2003, Myers was notified of Judge Nishimoto's
final ruling, which was in favor of UFOWATCHDOG.COM. In a two-page ruling
and the initial ruling, Judge Nishimoto stated that Morton had "not
shown that he can prevail or show actual malice or that the matters complained
of are not true..."
- "Obviously, Judge Nishimoto made the appropriate
decision. California's SLAPP statute gives a fair and open opportunity
for the plaintiff to make their case. Mr.Morton created an opportunity
for himself to prove the veracity of his claims publicly and he couldn't
do it. Not only does the court's ruling vindicate UFOWATCHDOG.COM, it also
serves to demonstrate that you can't extort people into silence by suing
- UFOWATCHDOG.COM is now back online and features an updated
version of its original investigation into Morton. You can read the updated
story 'The Shameless Psychic and His Prophecy of Lies' by visiting
- UFOWATCHDOG.COM editor Royce J. Myers III will be appearing
on various radio programs throughout the week discussing the lawsuit. On
Tuesday, April 8, 2003, Myers will be a guest on the nationally syndicated
Jeff Rense radio program and will also be a guest on Strange Days...Indeed
hosted by Errol Bruce Knapp on Saturday, April 12, 2003.
- ABOUT UFOWATCHCDOG.COM
- Since early 2001, UFOWATCHDOG.COM has challenged a number
of the claims made by well known UFO personalities, has provided commentary
on the UFO and paranormal fields, has served as a news source for both
UFOs and the paranormal as well as having exposed UFO hoaxes all in an
effort to further more rational and scientific debate regarding issues
such as UFOs and the paranormal.
- Contact: <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>email@example.com
- Release compiled by C. O'Shaughnessy